Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
As great as Greinke is ...


Sure, Zack Greinke's awesome. But in fairness, he's no Pedro Martinez:
 Greinke
 Martinez
Tuesday night after Greinke knocked a few more points off his ERA, a friend e-mailed me to ask if any pitcher since the '60s had posted an ERA in the neighborhood of 2. Of course the answer is yes. In fact, a bunch of guys have done it. Since 1969, there have been 15 pitcher-seasons that included a sub-2.00 ERA and at least 200 innings. Dwight Gooden (1.53) leads the way, while Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens both did it twice.

As did Martinez, whose name was the first that came to mind as I read my friend's e-mail. Pedro's 1.74 ERA ranks just fourth on my list -- behind Gooden and the two Maddux seasons -- but of course that's apples to oranges, as Pedro's 2000 season came in the American League and squarely during the Power era.

If we look instead at ERA+, Pedro comes out on top, with his 2000 and 1999 seasons bracketing Maddux's 1994 and '95. And what of Greinke? His ERA (so far) ranks just 21st since '69, but his ERA+ jumps to the 11th spot. To join the Hall of Famers up there, though, he'll have to do it twice.