This past week has truly been a time for mediocre pitchers to shine. I cannot remember the last time when in the span of a week we saw two starting pitchers throw complete game shutouts in which they allowed only one and two hits apiece, no walks, and still only managed to strike out three batters each.
First up we have Jason Marquis of the Colorado Rockies. On June 29th, I was looking at my fantasy baseball team and saw that he was starting the next day in Dodgerland. Expecting a blow-out, I benched him. He proceeded to limit the Dodgers to two hits with 86 pitches (66 strikes). It’s not every day you see a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.47 toss a two-hitter against the team with the best record in the majors, but that is what happens when you induce seventeen ground balls. To top it off, Marquis followed this outing by shutting out the lowly Nationals for eight innings, helping him earn a spot on his first NL All-Star team.
Then last night, Jarrod “Seattle literally tried to give me away to the Yankees last year” Washburn chucked a one-hitter against the Orioles. Now you are probably thinking, ya but it is the Orioles. However, their offence is actually decent this year. It is their terrible pitching that is holding them back. Washburn’s line was even more perplexing, as it took him 110 pitches to sit down twenty-seven O’s. He also gave up thirteen fly-balls, and for a guy with a career HR/FB rate of 8.7%, he is lucky one of those did not leave the yard.
These two outings are just one of the many reasons I love baseball. As much as the sport has become dominated by statistical analysis and expected outcomes, something like this could happen. Retreads like Marquis can put together masterful two-hitters. Give me a call when Luke Ridnour drops 40 points or Donald Brashear scores a hat-trick.