May 30, 2010, 6:01 PM EDT
The baseball world has already been treated to several impressive pitching feats this season and it’s not even June. From Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter on April 17 against the Braves, to Dallas Braden’s perfect game on May 9 against the Rays, to Roy Halladay’s perfecto last night in Florida — 2010 has largely been the year of the pitcher, at least through the first two months.
A staggering total of 26 starters had an ERA under 3.00 and 27 had a WHIP under 1.15 entering Sunday’s full slate of action, and they’re not all familiar names. Cardinals rookie left-hander Jaime Garcia has four wins and a 1.14 ERA in nine starts, the Mariners’ Doug Fister owns a 2.03 ERA and has walked only 10 batters in 62 innings, and the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey is 7-1 and has surrendered only 18 runs in 63.2 innings for a 2.54 ERA. Heck, even Carlos Silva has enjoyed success.
In baseball, as in life, we like answers. Why have pitchers been more dominant this year than in any other time in recent memory? Why are home run totals down and stolen base numbers up? Why has the tide turned, and what caused it?
Most would point to Major League Baseball’s crackdown on performance-enhancing drugs, namely steroids, and there’s no doubting that it’s been a factor. The battle is not over, of course, but it appears that stricter and more frequent testing has cut down on juicing in the game, and thus we are seeing far less offensive firepower across the baseball landscape.
Does that mean we can put a cap on the last 15-or-so years and mark the summer of 2010 as the end of the “steroid era?” No. At least not yet. But we’re certainly starting to turn the corner.
Let’s also hand much of the credit for the shift in power to baseball’s blossoming young crop of starting pitchers. Guys like Jimenez, Garcia, Josh Johnson, Matt Cain, David Price, Shaun Marcum, Clay Buchholz, Clayton Kershaw, Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Phil Hughes have been blowing away batters this year and professional baseball, in many ways, is better for it. There is some seriously good pitching going on in both leagues this year and phenom Stephen Strasburg hasn’t even made his major league debut.
It’s a great time to be a true baseball fan. When it comes down to it, what is better than a pitchers’ duel?
- Yordano Ventura ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch 15
- Pete Rose joins FOX as a baseball analyst 18
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 55
- Josh Hamilton’s teammates say he’s in great shape and ready to play 28
- Mike Trout hit his 100th career home run to become the youngest member of the 100 HR/100 SB club 26
- Make that two: Alex Rodriguez hits second homer of the night, giving him 658 for his career 48
- Alex Rodriguez hit his 657th career home run 49
- Let’s all just stare at Kris Bryant’s numbers for a while 28
- The Commissioner’s Office thinks that the Angels could indeed go after Josh Hamilton under his contract (153)
- “Why Ted Cruz is like the Atlanta Braves” (150)
- “We no longer need the terrorists. We’re now so good at terrorizing ourselves.” (143)
- Another argument in favor of making the DH universal (127)
- When it comes to Josh Hamilton, Arte Moreno is a craven opportunist, not a “smart businessman” (116)