Stats & Info: Ubaldo Jimenez

Top stats to know: Orioles at Red Sox

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
The Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox face off on "Sunday Night Baseball" at 7 p.m. ET in a matchup of veteran pitchers. Here are some of the stats our broadcast crew will be focusing on tonight:

Ubaldo Jimenez struggling
Jimenez has had his issues against the American League East teams, no more so than the Red Sox. He is 1-3 with a 10.27 ERA in five starts against them (also 1-4 with a 6.67 ERA against the New York Yankees).

The only active pitcher who has made at least five starts with a worse ERA against the Red Sox is Rick Porcello (10.42).

Jimenez closed 2013 with an AL-best 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break, even with a fastball that has dropped nearly 6 mph over the last four seasons to its current 90.3 average.

He has been battered around a bit in his first three starts. Opponents are hitting .348 and slugging .576 against him, and his ERA/WHIP combo stands at 7.31/2.06.

Peavy off to solid start
In contrast to Jimenez, Red Sox starter Jake Peavy has a 1.93 ERA and .179 opponents’ batting average through three starts. Hitters are 12-for-67 against him this season.

Jake Peavy
Peavy appears to have made two key adjustments to his approach over the past few years: throw more strikes early and increase the frequency with which he’s pitching batters inside.

His first-pitch strike rate has climbed by year from 57.7 percent (2010) to 66.7 percent in 2013, though it’s dipped to 55.1 percent this season.

He is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Orioles, with a 23-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and zero homers allowed in 20 innings.

Red Sox situational struggles
The Red Sox are hitting .223 with runners on base and .207 with runners in scoring position, which ranked 25th and 26th in the majors entering the day.

The hitters struggling the most are a couple of the younger ones; Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts are a combined 4-for-43.

Red Sox hitter to watch: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia is hitting .250 this season but has been better the last couple of days since getting a clean bill of health. He is 5-for-17 with four walks and five runs scored in his last four games.

Opposing pitchers have taken to pounding Pedroia with fastballs until he proves he can hurt them this season. He has seen a fastball or some variant 66 percent of the time this season, compared to 57 percent in 2013.

Chris Davis
Orioles hitter to watch: Chris Davis
Davis hit 53 home runs for the Orioles last season but has only one in his first 16 games in 2014.

The flaw in Davis’ game has been an inability to hit pitches in the upper half of the strike zone.

Last season, Davis hit 15 home runs against pitches to that area. This season, he has only one hit against the 100 pitches he’s seen (54 against 1,071 pitches in 2013).

Jimenez, Santana unlikely to net big $

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
Getty ImagesUbaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are still awaiting new contracts.
Two pitchers who were expected to land big-dollar free agent deals this offseason – Ubaldo Jiménez and Ervin Santana – remain unsigned. While some have speculated that the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes held up deals for other front-end starters, there’s also the possibility that teams are simply afraid to commit significant resources to pitchers with such an inconsistent recent track record.

Both Jiménez and Santana were below replacement level within the last two seasons; in 2012, Santana was worth -1.3 WAR, and Jiménez was -0.6 WAR. Last season, Santana was worth 2.9 WAR and Jiménez was worth 2.7 WAR.

This recent track record of sub-replacement performance bodes poorly for their ability to land a lucrative free agent deal - in the history of free agency, only four starting pitchers have signed free agency deals with an average annual value of $10 million or more after posting a below-replacement level season in at least one of the two preceding seasons.

Let's run through that list:

Gil Meche
The Lead Up: In 2005, Meche had a 5.09 ERA in 143 1/3 innings (with a ghastly 83-72 K-BB), good for -0.2 WAR while pitching for Seattle. In 2006, the season during which he’d build his case for his upcoming free agent deal, Meche posted a 4.48 ERA in 186 2/3 innings, good for a paltry 0.9 WAR.

The Contract: In December of 2006, Meche signed a shocking 5-year, $55 million contract with the pitching-starved Royals.

The Result: Meche actually contributed a combined 9.2 WAR in his first two seasons with the Royals, easily the two best seasons of his career. He logged 426 1/3 innings with a 3.82 ERA, drastically reducing his walk rate. He would go 6-15, 5.29 ERA in 190 2/3 innings over the remaining life of the contract, voluntarily retiring in January of 2011, prior to the final season of the contract.

Carlos Silva
The Lead Up: In 2006, Carlos Silva was one of the worst pitchers in baseball, as he was worth -1.0 WAR in 180 1/3 innings, thanks to a 5.94 ERA. In 2007, Silva was worth almost four wins above his 2006 season, with a 4.19 ERA in 202 innings, good for 2.6 WAR.

The Contract: In December of 2007, Silva signed a 4-year, $48 million contract with the Mariners.

The Result: Silva immediately went back to being terrible. In 2008, his first year of the four-year deal, Silva went 4-15, 6.46 ERA in 153 1/3 IP, worth -1.9 WAR, third-worst of any pitcher in baseball. Silva was below replacement again in 2009 (-0.9 WAR, 29 earned runs in 30 1/3 innings) and was traded to the Cubs for the 2010 season. He did not pitch at the major-league level after 2010.

Dan Haren
The Lead Up: After a half-decade run as one of the best pitchers in the league, Haren fell apart in 2012, posting a 4.33 ERA in 176 2/3 innings, worth -0.4 WAR. His strong track record prior to that down season – he’d been worth an average of 4.5 WAR per season from 2005-11 – earned him another chance.

The Contract: In the winter of 2012, Haren signed a 1-year, $13 million deal with the Nationals.

The Result: Closer to 2012 than his prime. Haren labored through 169 2/3 innings, posting a 4.67 ERA. That was worth exactly replacement level.

The Contract Part II: This offseason once again brought Haren another chance. Fresh off that replacement level season, Haren signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers. If you’re looking for optimism, Haren had a 3.29 ERA from July 1 on.

The Result Part II: To be determined.

Scott Kazmir
The Lead Up: In 2010, Scott Kazmir posted a 5.94 ERA in 150 innings with the Angels, a contribution that was worth -0.8 WAR. In 2011, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing 5 ER, which was worth -0.3 WAR. He wouldn’t pitch in MLB during the 2012 season. In 2013, he signed a minor league deal with the Indians, made the club, and posted a 1.1 WAR season, thanks to a 4.04 ERA in 158 innings.

The Contract: Following his renaissance season with the Indians, Kazmir signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Athletics.

The Result: To be determined.

Reynolds, Jimenez show their capabilities

April, 4, 2013
The Cleveland Indians have had a nice first two games to start the season, winning twice over a Toronto Blue Jays team that had been heralded throughout baseball for its offseason moves.

On Wednesday, the keys to their victory were two players who've had flashes of greatness in the past, but whose recent history had been lacking in such.

Maybe this will be the start of something better for them. Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s stars.

Reynolds goes long distance
Mark Reynolds
Though he’d missed on 10 of his first 19 swings this season and done little else with the ones on which he made contact, new Indians slugger Mark Reynolds didn’t get cheated on swing number 20.

That one resulted in a 457-foot homer, into the far reaches of the Rogers Centre, which gave the Indians their second straight win over the Blue Jays.

It was the longest home run for Reynolds since August 7, 2011, when he hit a 463-foot home run off Ricky Romero.

The Indians learned Wednesday that Reynolds is still capable of the prodigious blast. His 10 home runs of 450 feet or longer since the start of the 2009 season are tied for fourth-most in baseball, three behind leader Justin Upton, who hit a 460-foot homer in his Braves debut.

He wasn’t the only all-or-nothing player to come up big for the Indians on Wednesday.

Jimenez gets Jays to chase
Ubaldo Jimenez
Though he earned a no-decision, Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one run, three hits and two walks in six innings against a powerful Blue Jays lineup.

Jimenez only had two starts in all of 2012 in which he pitched at least six innings and allowed five or fewer baserunners. He also struggled mightily against the AL East, going 2-5 with 34 earned runs allowed in 42⅓ innings.

What worked for Jimenez on Wednesday was the ability to get Blue Jays hitters to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Their 20 swings on 59 out-of-zone pitches resulted in five outs and no hits.

Last season, Jimenez got chases at a considerably lower rate. In fact, his 21.6 percent chase rate was the worst in the majors last season. That rate would have produced seven fewer swings then Jimenez got.

Jimenez only had one start all last season with a chase rate as good as the one he had Wednesday night, a six-inning, no-run effort against the Tigers.

Jimenez’s chase rate often coincides with his success on the mound. Since the start of 2011, he’s had 13 starts in which he’s gotten hitters to chase at least 30 percent of his pitches. In those starts, his ERA is a very solid 2.99

Buchholz benefits from great run support

May, 16, 2012
(The Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.)

The American League’s most methodical starting pitchers will oppose each other in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday night: the Rays' Jeremy Hellickson and the Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz.

This season, Hellickson has averaged 24.4 seconds between pitches, second in the American League among starters behind Buchholz, who averages more than 25 seconds between pitches.

In fact, Boston’s starting pitchers haven’t been shy about taking their time on the mound. Each of the Red Sox's five starters rank in the top seven in terms of slowest paces in the American League this season.

This season, Buchholz is 4-1, but he owns the highest ERA among qualified starters at 8.31. Buchholz has four wins because the Red Sox have provided him with more run support than any other starter in baseball with 9.7 runs per game.

Buchholz has been even worse on the road. In two starts he has an 11.57 ERA and a 2.46 WHIP.

Buchholz has been so bad this season because everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Buchholz this season:

• Has allowed 10 HR in 39 innings, giving him the highest HR-per-nine-innings-pitched rate at 2.3. (In 28 starts in 2010, Buchholz allowed just nine home runs.)

• Strikes out 4.6 batters per nine innings, which is the lowest rate of his career (career average: 6.7).

• Walks more than five batters per nine innings, the highest rate of his career (career average: 3.8).

• Is one of three starters who has walked more batters than he has struck out (Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe).

What Buchholz has done well is throw first-pitch strikes. He’s tied for the American League lead with Phil Humber at 69.5 percent. However, hitters are jumping all over Buchholz, swinging at 32 percent of his first pitches, the fourth highest rate against any American League starter. When hitters put that pitch in play, their batting average is .357.

Opposing Buchholz will be Hellickson, whose start will be the 203rd straight start for the Rays by a homegrown pitcher. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other team this season has had every game started by players originally drafted by the organization.

Hellickson this season has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his seven starts. The lone exception was on April 14 against the Red Sox, when he allowed five earned runs and a career-high three home runs.

Overall, his 4.99 career ERA against Boston is his highest against any team.

Hellickson hasn’t been very efficient, throwing 16.8 pitches per inning, which ranks 43rd out of 53 qualified American League starters. (Buchholz has been worse, ranking 46th with 17.5 pitches per inning.)

He’s also struggled to get the final out of innings -- 12 of his 16 walks this season have been issued with two outs.

However, in five starts since his April 14 loss to the Red Sox, Hellickson has a 1.93 ERA. In fact, the Rays' pitching has settled into being the expected dominant pitching staff. In the past 28 games, Tampa Bay is 19-9 with a league-low 2.82 ERA.

An early look at pitchers' fastball velocity

April, 14, 2012
One of the hot topics every spring is improved or falling velocity among pitchers. While small sample size caveats apply at this stage, there are a handful of interesting storylines developing on the topic.

Stephen Strasburg
Through two starts this season, the trend of Stephen Strasburg's velocity dipping has continued. When he first came up, he succeeded off of fastballs approaching 100, with a changeup around 90.

However, since his return from Tommy John surgery, he seems to be evolving into more of a pitcher.

His fastball velocity is down more than 2 miles per hour, but his changeup is also down nearly the exact same amount, keeping the separation between the two pitches at 7.0 miles per hour. That's right around his career average.

Ubaldo Jimenez
Much has been made of how Ubaldo Jimenez is not the same pitcher he once was. There’s no question he’s pitching with a different arsenal than 2009 or 2010, as his average and maximum velocities are well down.

However, after a multi-year increase in the use of his diminished fastball, he has decreased the frequency with which he’s throwing it early in 2012.

That formula has worked -- his strike rate with the pitch has increased from less than 61 percent to nearly 64 percent from 2009-11.

Tim Lincecum
What's plaguing Tim Lincecum? It could be his fastball. He’s down several miles per hour from last season -- both in terms of average and maximum velocity -- and the results have been opponents having much greater success against said fastball.

Unfortunately, Lincecum hasn’t compensated the diminished velocity with improved command. His strike rate with his fastball has declined each season since 2009, with a huge drop so far in 2012 -- going from 63 percent last season to less than 54 percent this season.

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
Over the past few seasons, Brian Wilson has been among the best closers in baseball. However, there’s a disturbing trend developing, with both his average fastball velocity (92.4 MPH, down from 96.5 in 2009) and his maximum fastball velocity (95.1 MPH, down from 102.2 in 2009) having dropped each season since 2009. This season has continued that downward trend.

Plenty of pitchers are able to get by with diminished velocity. Unfortunately, it appears that Wilson has had trouble surviving the dip in velocity so far. His overall strikeout and walk rates are headed the wrong way, corresponding with the velocity drop.

Over the past three years, his strikeout rate has been cut almost in half and his walk rate has nearly doubled.

Starting Pitching Overview
The one potential saving grace for these pitchers is the tendency for pitcher velocities to increase after we exit April. In each of the previous two seasons, the number of starting pitchers who averaged 93 MPH or more on their fastballs in April increased by the end of the season.

As you can see, while the league average fastball velocity peaked in July at last season, the single largest month-to-month increase was from April to May.
The New York Yankees took the first game of their series with the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park – and they also took over first place by themselves in the AL East for the first time since July 6.

The Yanks’ 3-2 win also snapped their seven-game losing streak against the Red Sox, while increasing their current overall winning streak to eight games.

The Yankees-Sox matchup has been a tale of two halves over the past three seasons. With Friday’s win, the Bronx Bombers are 14-7 against Boston after the All-Star break and 6-19 before the ASB.

The unsung hero for the Yankees in the win was their bullpen, which has not walked a batter since July 27 (nine straight walk-less games).

Starter Bartolo Colon was lifted after throwing 94 pitches and recording 14 outs. Here’s a next-level look at how Boone Logan and Mariano Rivera shut down the Red Sox (with help from Rafael Soriano and David Robertson):

• Logan got the win, as well as perhaps the biggest out of the game, a three-pitch strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez struck out on a slider out of the strike zone, a common location for Logan against Gonzalez. Logan has now faced Gonzalez four times in his career, allowing a hit with two strikeouts. Of the 13 pitches he has thrown Gonzalez, only six have been in the strike zone.

• Rivera closed the game out by registering two of his three outs recorded on strikeouts looking. It's the first time Rivera has gotten more than one strikeout looking in an appearance since April 18, 2010 - a span of 98 games.

Elsewhere around MLB Friday:

• Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a single in his last at-bat. It ties Emilio Bonifacio for the second-longest streak in the majors this season (Andre Ethier, 30).

• Ubaldo Jimenez made his Indians debut, allowing five runs over five innings. He did not get a decision in the Rangers' come-from-behind 8-7 win.

• Craig Counsell broke his streak of 45 straight hitless at-bats with a pinch-single in the Brewers’ 8-1 win over Houston. It tied the worst single-year hitless streak by a non-pitcher since 1900.

• The Padres drubbed the Pirates, 15-5, in Pittsburgh. It is the most runs the Padres have ever scored in Pittsburgh, eclipsing their 14 at Forbes Field on June 2, 1970.

NL East narrows gap in power rankings

August, 2, 2011
The American League East remains at the top of the ESPN Stats & Information Divisional Power Rankings for the third straight month, with the National League East close behind.

Over the past three months, the AL East and NL East have been the top two divisions by a large margin. The two east divisions have separated themselves from the pack, so let’s take a closer look at how they compare.

The NL East has a slightly higher win percentage in games outside its division. The NL East has won 56.1 percent of its games outside the division, one percent higher than the AL East. In July, the NL East outperformed its American League counterpart with a .609 win percentage outside the division, compared to .585 for the AL East. The two divisions also produced the two best teams in the league last month: the Boston Red Sox (10-3) and Philadelphia Phillies (11-5) had the two best win percentages against non-divisional opponents in July.

The NL East also outperformed the AL East in the category that measures strength of schedule. The two divisions have the top four teams in the MLB Relative Power Index, a metric that combines win percentage and strength of schedule. The Baltimore Orioles’ extremely low RPI hurt the AL East. The NL East did not have one team in the bottom third of the index.

The AL East and NL East had exactly the same score when it came to the Power Rankings. Four of the top six teams in the most recent ratings are from the east divisions, and resurgence of the Florida Marlins in July (17-10) helped in July’s rankings.

The greatest difference between the two divisions is in the category that measures player performances. The NL East has two more top-30 pitchers than the AL East, but its lack of power hitters hurt its ranking. As of August 1, the AL East has 10 position players ranked in the top 30 of ESPN’s MLB Player Ratings, including eight from the Red Sox and New York Yankees. Only Jose Reyes and Ryan Howard from the NL East ranked in the top 30. An injury to the Atlanta Braves’ Brian McCann and trade of Carlos Beltran hurt the NL East’s player ratings. (Both players appeared in last month’s top 30 batters.)

The trades of Michael Bourn to Atlanta and Hunter Pence to Philadelphia have the potential to increase the NL East’s player rating scores if these players can perform as expected. Other trades, such as Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians, have the potential to help one division and hurt another in the next edition.

Look for the NL Central, which lost more impact players to trades than any other division, to fall even further into last place. Both the NL West and NL East had teams involved in major deals, so expect them to reap the benefits in the ratings.

The Boston Red Sox bring the best record in the American League into their matchup against the Cleveland Indians Monday night on ESPN (7 ET). Boston’s starters have picked up 49 wins on the season, tied with the Texas Rangers for the second-most in the AL (New York Yankees lead with 51).

Cleveland led the AL Central for the majority of the first half of the year but now finds itself in second place in the division, and heads to Boston on a slide (2-8 in their last 10 games). The Indians are hoping the trade for Ubaldo Jimenez provides a spark to a starting rotation that has allowed 13 ER and 5 HR over its last three games.

On the Mound
John Lackey takes the mound tonight for Boston looking to decrease an ERA (6.20) that is the worst in the majors among MLB pitchers with at least 15 starts. Lackey has had success this year getting ahead of batters in the count. His first-pitch strike percentage is 61.7 percent, compared to the league average of 59.3 percent.

The first batter of the game has reached base 11 times out of 17 plate appearances against Lackey this season. And he’s allowed 15 first-inning runs in 17 starts.

Josh Tomlin, who has pitched at least 5.0 innings in each of his first 33 career starts (the third-longest streak to start a career among pitchers who debuted in 1900 or later), has allowed 18 HR this season. The HR differential against him at home vs on the road is significant - one HR allowed per 9 innings at home; one HR allowed per 6 innings on the road.

And it’s specific to left-handed hitters.

Left-handed hitters have two HR in 133 at-bats against Tomlin in Cleveland. They have seven in 134 at-bats against him on the road.

In contrast to Lackey, the first batter of the game is just 3-for-21 against Tomlin this season. He’s only allowed four runs in the first inning all season.

The Matchup
The Indians are 4-2 against the Red Sox this season. They haven’t won more than four games against the Red Sox in a regular season since 2001 (six wins).
Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez was traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians Saturday in exchange for three minor league prospects and a player to be named later.

The Indians trail the division-leading Tigers by 1.5 games and Jimenez could be the jolt their team -- and specifically their rotation -- needs down the stretch. The Indians' starters are in the bottom third of all MLB teams in winning percentage, ERA and innings pitched.

The trade is a change of pace for the Indians, who had been trading away notable players during the season since 2008. CC Sabathia (2008), Cliff Lee (2009), Victor Martinez (2009) and Jake Westbrook (2010) all left the Tribe in in-season deals.

After starting this season 0-5 with a 5.86 ERA, Jimenez has been much closer to his 2010 self in his last 12 starts. Since June 1, Jimenez is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.

Another positive sign for the Indians is that Jimenez’s numbers have been very good away from Coors Field. His record is 3-4 away from Colorado, but his ERA is 3.38 -- as opposed to 5.55 at Coors. In addition, he is holding hitters to a .183 average and striking out 9.8 batters per nine innings away from Coors.

However, some baseball people are wondering why the Rockies are trading a 27-year-old frontline starter who's under contract 2 ½ more years at a team-friendly price in the first place. Do they know something, health wise, that other teams don't? From 2009-10, no starter averaged more velocity on his fastball than Jimenez. This season, after losing nearly three MPH off his fastball, his velocity ranks just 16th among qualified starters.

In other news around baseball Saturday:

• Cliff Lee struck out 11 as the Phillies dropped the Pirates, 7-4. It is Lee’s seventh double-digit strikeout game this season, the most in the majors. Also, it is the most such games in a season by a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling recorded 15 in 1998.

• Atlanta’s Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 21 games. Elias tells us that Uggla's .173 mark at the start of his hitting streak is the lowest in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) for a player with a hitting streak of 20 or more games (minimum 200 at-bats at the start of the hitting streak).

• Robinson Cano joined some exclusive company Saturday, becoming the sixth Yankees hitter to go 5-for-5 or better with 5 or more RBI at home in the Live Ball Era (since 1920). Among those to accomplish the feat are Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.
Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot topic of conversation lately with trade rumors swirling around where the Colorado Rockies may send their ace. Jimenez's consistency has also been a hot topic lately – highlighted by a Twitter exchange Tuesday between Buster Olney and David Cameron.

While a glance at Jimenez's ERA would suggest he’s inconsistent, a look at the statistics he can control – strikeout rate and walk rate, primarily – indicates that he’s essentially the same pitcher he’s been all along, with these two measurements staying relatively steady over the past three seasons.

Against the Atlanta Braves, Jimenez continued his string of solid starts, striking out nine in 6.2 innings to improve to 5-1 in his last seven starts. Jimenez's strikeout total is his second-highest in a game in which he allowed seven or more hits.

On August 15, 2010 he allowed 10 hits and had 10 strikeouts against the Brewers in a 6-5 win. On Tuesday against the Braves, he allowed seven hits and had nine strikeouts.

Elsewhere Around the Diamond:

Danny Valencia tallied his fourth career walk-off hit to lead the Minnesota Twins to a win over the Cleveland Indians. For the Indians, Justin Masterson (7.2 IP, 0 ER) now has a 1.52 ERA over his last six starts.
Justin Masterson

Masterson ran with his sinker, tying a season high with 103 sinkers of 104 total pitches. When Masterson kept his sinker down, it was untouchable as the Twins went 0 for 12 with four strikeouts and eight ground-ball outs.

In two games against Masterson this season, the Twins are 1 for 19 (.053) with six strikeouts in at-bats ending with a sinker down. Masterson threw a season high 59 of his 103 sinkers in the strike zone.

The Twins grounded out 14 times in at-bats ending with a pitch in the strike zone. That is Masterson's highest total in a start since the start of the 2009 season.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0, behind a strong performance from starter James McDonald. At 51-44, the Pirates are now seven games over .500 for the first time since April 21, 2002 when the team was 12-5 (and finished the season 72-89). The Pirates have eight shutouts this season, with three coming against the Reds.

Neil Walker was 1 for 3, and now has a 13-game hitting streak. The Pirates posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since April 17-18, 2009, and they have eight shutouts this season after posting six last season.

• The New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2. Carlos Beltran went 2-2 with two doubles and two walks against Kyle Lohse, and is now hitting .564 (22-39) with four home runs and 11 walks off Lohse.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the .564 mark by Beltran is the second-highest average by any active batter against any active pitcher (minimum 35 at-bats). The top mark is held by Jason Giambi (.622, 23 for 37) against Darren Oliver.
After missing the entire 2010 season because of two shoulder operations, the Seattle Mariners' Erik Bedard has begun to show signs that his injured left arm is a thing of the past.

Bedard looks to win his third straight start when he faces his former team, the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday in Seattle. (Bedard is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in two career starts against the Orioles.)

In his last five starts, Bedard is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA and has not allowed a home run. (In his first four starts, he had a 7.71 ERA and allowed seven home runs.)

So what’s been behind his recent success?

Bedard has been locating more of his pitches down in the zone, and the result has been more ground balls. Over his last five starts, more than 25 percent of plate appearances have ended on pitches down in the zone, compared to 18.2 percent in his first four starts.

• While Bedard looks to extend his win streak, Jo-Jo Reyes finally has a chance to start one following his complete-game victory against the Cleveland Indians on Monday. With Reyes' MLB-record 28-start winless streak snapped, who currently has the longest drought? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest current streak of winless starts among active pitchers is 12, by the Colorado Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez and the New York Mets' Mike O'Connor, although he hasn't made a start since 2008.

Reyes picked up his first "W" of the season, but what other players are still looking for that first "something" of the season:

• Kevin Correia is 0-for-24 at the plate, the most at-bats without a hit this season.

Wil Nieves
• Wil Nieves has 0 RBI, and his 43 at-bats are the most for a player without an RBI in 2011.

• Cedric Hunter has put 20 balls into play, but none of them has been classified as a groundball (according to Inside Edge data), the most balls in play without a groundball by a player this season.

• Daniel Descalso is 0-for-17 in at-bats ending on the first pitch, the most at-bats ending on the first pitch without a hit this season.

• Michael Martinez is 0-for-24 in at-bats ending with two strikes, the most at-bats ending with two strikes without a hit this season.

• Koyie Hill is 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position, most at-bats with RISP without a hit this season.
Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay won the National League Cy Young Award Tuesday, receiving all 32 first-place votes, the first time he’s won in the NL and the second Cy Young he’s won in his career. He is the fifth pitcher ever to win the award in both leagues, joining Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

He’s the fourth Philadelphia Phillies pitcher to win the award and the first since reliever Steve Bedrosian won it in 1987. After winning six times in the 16 seasons from 1972-1987, this is the first time in 23 years that a Phillies pitcher won the award.

Halladay went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA, with 219 strikeouts and just 30 walks in 250 ⅔ innings. He’s just the fourth National League pitcher since 1994 to throw at least 250 innings with an ERA of 2.50 or below, joining Johnson, Greg Maddux and Kevin Brown. Halladay led the league in wins, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched and K/BB ratio. He was second in the league in strikeouts and WHIP (1.04), and third in ERA, and he threw the 20th perfect game in major league history when he beat the Florida Marlins on May 29.

The superior start is a statistic created by Stats & Information designed as an enhanced version of the quality start. For each start a pitcher is assigned a probability he gave his team of winning based on his innings pitched and earned runs -- the same statistics used to determine a quality start.

A superior start is deemed to be any start where the pitcher gave his team at least a 75 percent chance to win. The four pitchers who tied for the lead finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting.

Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals finished second, his second top-three finish in the last three seasons. Wainwright went 20-11 with a career-low 2.42 ERA and a career-high 213 strikeouts in 230 ⅓ innings pitched. He won 20 games for the first time in his career and had five complete games, after throwing three combined in his career entering this season.

xWIN is another statistic created by Stats & Information that measures how many wins a pitchers team should get based on his combination of innings pitched and earned runs allowed in each start. It eliminates the adverse effect of a having a bad offense on a pitcher's win total. Wainwright barely outpaced Halladay to lead the National League this season.

Ubaldo Jimenez finished third after having one of the best seasons in Colorado Rockies history. He went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 221 ⅔ innings. That’s the second-best ERA by a starting pitcher in Rockies history and his 214 strikeouts set the all-time franchise mark.

Jimenez was counting on the fact that the NL Cy Young winner had fewer than 20 wins for four straight seasons before this one. With Halladay’s win, just twice in the last eight years has the winner registered 20 wins or more.
A quick look at Game 1 of the ALDS between the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Price• The Rays will send 25-year-old David Price to the mound in Game 1 to face the Rangers. The young lefthander has never made a postseason start, although he appeared in five playoff games back in 2008.

FROM ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: In the 2009 postseason, four pitchers started Game 1 of a series at age 25 years or younger: Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado Rockies, NLDS), Jon Lester (Boston Red Sox, ALDS), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers, NLCS), and Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies, NLCS). Hamels and the Phillies were the only of those four teams who came out victorious in Game 1 of their series.

• Rangers Game 1 starter Cliff Lee pitched in the postseason for the first time last year with the Phillies, and went 4-0 in five starts with a 1.56 ERA, two complete games and a 5.5 K/BB ratio (33/6).

However, against the Rays this season, Lee was 0-3 in three starts with an ERA of 4.56.

• Sadly for the Rangers, they’ll be starting this series on the road, and they’ve had no success this season against the other AL playoff teams when playing in their ballparks. In fact, Texas is the only American League team still playing that has a losing record on the road, and they haven’t had a winning road record since 2006.

• The Rangers have lost their last nine LDS games and are the only major league franchise to have never won a postseason series.

Jimenez falls shy of 20 wins

October, 2, 2010
After going 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA and starting the All-Star Game for the National League, some experts wondered how many games the Colorado Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez would win.

The answer will, most likely, be 19.

Despite eight scoreless innings on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jimenez didn't factor in the decision -- a 1-0 loss in 11 innings.

Unless the Rockies bring Jimenez back on Sunday in an attempt to get him one more victory, he'll join an extremely small list of pitchers since 1933 who failed to win 20 games after having 15 victories at the All-Star break.

In Jimenez's first 18 starts of the season, the Rockies were 16-2. In his last 15 starts, Colorado went 6-9.

Saturday was the eighth time since the break that the Rockies scored two runs or fewer in a game started by Jimenez. In the first half of the season, Colorado scored two runs or fewer when Jimenez was on the mound in just three games.

Wainwright's impressive case for Cy Young

September, 24, 2010
The season is obviously not yet over, but after Friday's start Adam Wainwright has 20 wins, 213 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA. Over the last 20 seasons, there have been six other seasons in which a pitcher has compiled at least 20 wins and 200 K with an ERA under 2.50. Randy Johnson (x3), Pedro Martinez (x2) and Roger Clemens (x1) account for each of those six seasons. Four of those seasons resulted in a Cy Young Award and the other two were both runner-up finishes. One of those runner-ups can essentially be thrown out since that was merely Randy Johnson losing out to Roger Clemens in a season in which they both met the stated criteria.

Adam Wainwright may not be playing on a team in playoff contention (like Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Hudson), but he is certainly in contention for the NL Cy Young Award. It should be noted that Roy Halladay (20 wins, 213 K, 2.53 ERA) is very close to joining Wainwright in reaching each of the standards. If Wainwright and Halladay each pull this off, it would be the first time in over 40 years that multiple NL pitchers did this. It last happened in 1969, when five NL pitchers did it (Larry Dierker, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Tom Seaver, and Bill Singer). Seaver won the NL Cy Young Award that season.

Another factor boding in Wainwright's favor is's Player Rater, which historically correlates very strongly with the final Cy Young order of finish. Not surprisingly (considering his statistics), it has Wainwright as the National League's top starter this season (followed closely by Halladay).

A couple of other quick notes on Wainwright:

He's the third pitcher in Cardinals history to post 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a single season. Bob Gibson did it five times from 1965 to 1970 and Chris Carpenter did it in 2005.

Wainwright saved the clinching game of the 2006 World Series. The only other player in major league history to have a 20-win season and a save in a World Series-clinching game is Dennis Eckersley who won 20 games in 1978 with the Boston Red Sox and saved the World Series clincher in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics.