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Ubaldo Jimenez becomes first pitcher since 2000 with 15 wins before the All-Star break

Jul 9, 2010, 11:46 AM EDT

Ubaldo Jimenez may not be the top pitcher of the first half, but by beating Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals yesterday he became the first pitcher with 15 wins before the All-Star break since 2000.
Jimenez held the Cardinals to one run in eight innings, bouncing back from three straight poor starts to improve to 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA that now ranks third in the league behind Josh Johnson (1.70) and Jaime Garcia (2.17).
I wrote last week about how unlikely Jimenez is to become the first 30-game winner since Denny McLain in 1968, but certainly at this point becoming the first 25-game winner since Bob Welch in 1990 is very possible. Of course, the last guy to have 15 wins by the All-Star break was David Wells in 2000 and he ended up with “only” 20 for the season (he also had a 4.11 ERA).
Incidentally, for as much as guys like me want to believe the baseball word has advanced past evaluating pitchers by win totals, I’d bet quite a bit on Jimenez getting the nod for the All-Star game over Josh Johnson despite an ERA that’s currently a half-run higher. Then again I also think Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum probably wouldn’t have won the (deserved) Cy Young awards with low win totals last season if another guy in either league had 20-plus wins.

  1. JK - Jul 9, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Can we please stop with the disparging columns about Ubaldo as if he is ONLY lucky for having 15 wins and a low ERA? It’s not like the guy is without talent. I will say that JJ is have an absurdly great season up to this point (as is Ubaldo) but are wins necessarily the worst tie breaking option when 2 or more pitchers are having close to equal seasons?

  2. JasonC23 - Jul 9, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    As long as you’re OK with a tiebreaker that only reflects which pitcher’s team scored more runs for him and has nothing to do with the pitchers themselves, sure, using wins is just fine.

  3. JK - Jul 9, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    I admit that he has been lucky, but to write these columns as if to say he has no talent and he is ONLY lucky is what sets me off.

  4. NickT - Jul 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Johnson’s last 11 starts have been similar to Ubaldo’s first 11 (0.80 ERA vs 0.78, 0.488 OPS vs 0.484), but Johnson’s gone 6-2 in those starts and Ubaldo went 10-1. Wins don’t say a lot.
    Most of Johnson’s stats are better now because of Jimenez’s two really bad starts, but Jimenez still has more innings and a 4.9 WARP compared to Johnson’s 4.8. Johnson’s been more consistent, but Jimenez has had higher highs (i.e., two shutouts). They really are close, but Johnson’s K/BB rate probably pushes him over the top.

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