'Pitchers are going to get hurt,' says one team executive, but a select few pitchers defy the rule.
On Tuesday night, word went around: Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was working on a no-hitter against the Brewers. Through 7 1/3 innings, Arroyo had allowed only one baserunner, keeping the Brewers at bay after hitting Ryan Braun with a pitch in the first. Milwaukee had managed to get only four balls out of the infield.
This was unexpected, to say the least. Seventy-three pitchers have pitched at least 250 innings over the past two seasons. Only four of them have given up hits at a higher rate than Arroyo. The 35-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown a pitch at 90 miles per hour all season, and his career ERA is just 3 percent lower than league average. Even if he did throw a no-hitter, no one would say he had no-hit stuff.
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We may have seen the last of Livan Hernandez, who wasn't fancy but had a lot of value.
On Friday, June 15, the Braves released Livan Hernandez. Although Hernandez picked up a save in May—the first of his 17-year career—the Braves thought his roster spot could be better used by Kris Medlen. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “There may be some other teams looking for a veteran guy, and I hope so. He still wants to pitch.”
While not impossible, it seems unlikely that a team will take a flyer on Livan at this stage. In the event that we’ve seen the last of Livan pitching in MLB, what follows is my eulogy for his big-league career. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always entertaining.
A brutal eight-game losing streak has taken the Atlanta Braves from first to worst in the NL East.
The Weekend Takeaway
It’s not all that hard to go from first to last in nine days this early in the season. To do so as resoundingly as the Braves have, though, takes a special kind of awfulness.
At the end of play on May 20, Fredi Gonzalez’s team was 26-16 and enjoyed a 1 ½-game lead in the National League East. At the close of shop last night, the Braves had slipped to 26-24 and sat in a last-place tie with the Phillies, four games behind the first-place Nationals.
As the bidding on Yoenis Cespedes begins in earnest, take a look back at some prior prospects from Cuba who tried to make the major-league leap.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
It's hard to know what to expect from a free agent from Cuba, but as we wait to see what Cespedes will be, we can take a look at how his countrymen fared courtesy of the John Perrotto article reproduced below, which originally ran on February 15, 2007.
A number of young hurlers are making strong comebacks in 2010.
Last week in this space, I took a look at hitters who had already exceeded their 2009 VORP in the early stages of 2010 and tried to determine whether those players were likely to build on their exceptional starts. This week, I’ll be doing the same for pitchers. I’ve selected the five starters and five relievers who have achieved the greatest VORP bouncebacks so far this year, compared to last year’s VORP tally or, for players that put up negative VORP performances last year, a replacement-level zero VORP. To make the starter list, a pitcher must have thrown at least 90 innings last season, while the cutoff for relievers is 40 innings. Those performance benchmarks are designed to ensure the players selected pitched significantly, if poorly, last season, and are off to a good start, rather than off to a mediocre start that’s much better than their disastrous 2009 numbers.
Livan Hernandez has somehow managed a sub-1.00 ERA while having more walks than strikeouts.
Welcome back to Seidnotes, my occasional column researching the ever so quirky aspects that make this game so great. Today’s tale focuses on a pair of Washington Nationals starting pitchers, who are currently on opposite sides of the results spectrum: Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis. The former’s best days were considered to be so far behind him that it was nowhere near a guarantee that he would start the season employed. The latter made last year’s National League All-Star team on the coattails of a deceptively hot start for the Rockies before sputtering down the stretch, even being bumped from Jim Tracy’s playoff rotation. Still, Marquis entered the season with a much more favorable projection given his propensity for grounders and ability to log quality innings. Given the buildup here, it should be incredibly obvious to those not already in the know that, as of this past week, the two have engaged in a Freaky Friday swap of sorts with Hernandez’s effectiveness being worthy of the “Game Changer” moniker given to Marquis in Nationals' promotional materials. Their starts give way to some very interesting questions.
The action from Riggs' 2010 return to Wrigley evens the series.
CHICAGO—Another April ballgame, another venue, another city. It's a cold night in Lakeview, with the wind coming in from the north and the game-time temp in the low 40s. It's one of those nights when the hardy fans who come to Wrigley alternate beers and hot chocolate, as Kenny Kaduk detailed in his boozy ballpark bildungsroman, Wrigleyworld. With that sort of mixed pleasure to look forward to, you understand why the 30,000 folks in attendance trickled in. But it would only get colder as the night goes on, one of those seasonal features of Wrigley in April that encourages all concerned to gun for quick games made more quickly still by small-ball tactics.