The Two Best Starters in Baseball

Tonight, out in Colorado, the two top starting pitchers in the majors, in terms of ERA, will go head to head. Despite the fact that they both have very impressive and almost identical ERAs, Ubaldo Jimenez at 0.93 and Livan Hernandez at 1.04, they’re two very different pitchers.

Ubaldo has gotten here by striking out everyone that comes to the plate. Well, not everyone, but just over every 4th batter. He’s struck out 49 of 185 batters faced in 48 1/3 IP. His K/9 is 9.12, although he is walking guys. His K/BB, though, is decent (2.45) because he strikes out so many. He’s also keeping the ball on the ground, with a GB to FB ratio of 1.26. And he hasn’t given up any homers. He’s basically got every stat you’d want for a pitcher.

Livan, on the other hand, is doing things a bit different. He’s got 14 strikeouts in his 43 1/3 IP to go along with 14 walks. That K/BB ratio of 1 isn’t exactly what you’d hope for, nor his is K/9 of 2.91. In fact they’re both pretty bad. Meanwhile, he’s not getting grounders, with a ratio of 0.86. He’s given up 5 ER, and 4 HR. What that does show is despite not striking people out, and walking a few, people aren’t stringing together hits on him. Some of that is luck, some of that is good defense being him. It indicates that this start is not meant to last, and he’ll eventually revert back to the kind of pitcher that these stats indicate.

But that hasn’t happened yet, and tonight, he’ll get yet another chance to combine luck with guile and the trusting of a solid defense. With all that, despite the fact that he’s going against the better guy with better stuff, better stats, and better results, you might not want to bet against Livo.

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