Yeah yeah, 6 games into the season is a little early to talk about stats, records or anything being anything more than 1 week of games. But .500 is still .500, and a series victory against the Mets is still a series victory. Besides, the last time the Nats were .500 was two years ago. It was April 5, 2008, when they were 3-3. And the last time Johan Santana got a loss against the Nats was June 9th, 2007, when he was with the Twins. Since then he had been 5-0 in 5 starts.
Like I said, it’s a little early to be looking at the stats sheets… buuuuuuut, it is nice to see the Nats are 3-3 considering the only people hitting are Willingham, Desmond, and Pudge. Anyway, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due, and it’s due to Livan Hernandez. I was critical of them bringing him back, but he’s had the best start of the Nats’ young season so far, and it’s the best start by far. It was a typical Livan “good” start – 5 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings, with only 1 strikeout. But he only allowed more than 1 baserunner in 2 of his 7 innings, and he looked in control throughout. It’s good to see he can still do this, the question with him, though, is one of consistency.
Livan wasn’t consistently bad last year, despite his 5.44 ERA. He was, rather, very inconsistent, and managed to balance very good games with very bad ones. In fact, he managed 18 quality starts last year – with 31 starts that’s a QS % of 58. Of all 69 pitchers in the league with 15 QS or more, he had the worst ERA, the next closest guy was Carl Pavano at 5.10. That means he was at least 1/3 of a run worse than everyone else in the league with at least 15 QS. For pitchers with at least 100 IP, he ranked 58th in QS%, and 117th in ERA. It just goes to show how bad he was blown up on his bad days.
Meanwhile, Strasburg Starts to Take Over the World
You probably already know, because it was on the freakin’ crawl on ESPN, but Strasburg had his first minor league start yesterday. He had a rough first inning, but in general had a very good game. He got the win, and his line was 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 R, 1 ER, and 8 K. Yeah, that’s right, 8 Ks in 5 innings. Keith Law did a write-up on it which you can check out here, but you’ll need Insider to read it. Basically, he said that his velocity was very good, his fastball location wasn’t great, his curveball was his best pitch, and his changeup was only so-so. I’m not gonna steal the text there, because I don’t want ESPN or Law coming after me, but I will give you one quote that may tempt you to go read the whole thing. Law said “Strasburg’s velocity was incredible; he hit 99 with his first pitch and reached that mark two other times in the third inning. He didn’t throw a fastball under 97 until the fourth.” I read Law alot, I really like what he has to say, but he usually isn’t so praising of a player. It impresses me that Law is so impressed.