We're now almost in June, and the phrase "small sample size" is no longer being heard quite as much, with the sabermetric sheep now being separated from the statistical goats. But in Colorado, Ubaldo Jimenez is defying... Well, it seems like he is thumbing his nose at the very laws of nature, because starting pitchers who live at Coors do not typically enter June with an ERA below one.
Jimenez pitched eight more shutout innings last night against the Diamondbacks, to reduce his ERA to 0.88. I believe he is the first pitcher since the mound was lowered in the late sixties, to win nine of his first ten starts with an ERA below one. The last was Juan Marichal, who went 9-0 with a 0.59 ERA in 1966 - including a 14-inning shutout victory against the Phillies in his tenth start. Bit of a different game in those days...
Even if you ignore it being the start of the season, Ubaldo has allowed only seven earned runs in ten starts, which is a streak of domination almost unprecedented in recent times. From what I can dig up, the only comparable runs over ten consecutive outings are:
- Tom Seaver: Aug 1-Sep 16, 1971 - eight ER, 89 IP [0.81 ERA]
- Orel Hershiser: Aug 19, 1988-Apr 5, 1989 - six ER. 89 IP [0.61 ERA]
Monday night sees Jimenez make his next start. It's against the Giants and he is scheduled to face reigning, two-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum. Which is not quite as exciting as it might have been a month ago, when Lincecum's ERA was also around one - he has now allowed eleven runs and ten walks in his last two starts. Still, I think it's a match-up that certainly deserves your attention.