2014 Pitching as the Season Nears the Halfway Point

Sorry Mark Buehrle, but won-lost records aside, the two most dominant starting pitchers in the majors this season have clearly been Tim Hudson and Johnny Cueto, and with last night’s dominant effort against the best team that money can buy, Cueto took a strong step into the number one spot.

Hudson has demonstrated the kind of control that pitchers dream of, opening the season with 30-2/3 innings before issuing his first base on balls of the season. While a couple of other pitchers have also put up strong walk/inning stats, including Kyle Lohse and the trinket the dead stainbrenner clan purchased from the Rakuten group across the Pacific,

Hudson has been the best, allowing only 11 free passes in 82 innings this season, while also compiling a sterling 1.97 ERA and a sensational 0.96 WHIP. Despite the Braves sitting near the bottom of the National League in runs scored, he has managed to win six of eight decisions.

And then there is Cueto. With his
tremendous performance against the Dodgers last night – six shutout innings, three singles, no walks, and an even dozen strikeouts – he lowered his major-league leading ERA to 1.85 and his WHIP down to a microscopic 0.77. In the five games that Cueto has lost this season, he has allowed a grand total of 11 runs, coincidentally, the awful Cincinnati Reds behind him have managed to score 11 runs themselves, a 2.2 runs per game average, in those same five games. Hard to win like that. By contrast, the dead steinbrenner trinket has had the pleasure of 4.7 runs per game when he takes the mound.

Two other pitcher deserve mention when talking about noteworthy performances this season. A while back I wrote about the streak that Zack Greinke was on for consecutive games allowing two or fewer earned runs. Greinke ran his streak to a major league record 22 games before surrendering three earned runs to the Reds on May 27, and of course, he has also given up three or more runs in each of his two starts since.

Then there is Francisco Rodriguez of the first place Milwaukee Brewers, The Brewers got off the their fabulous start due in large part to Rodriguez, as K-Rod did not give
up a single run, earned or otherwise, over his first 19 appearances this season, while saving 15 of those games. In three of the other four, he did not receive a save only because the Brewers had too big a lead for a save to be credited.

And of course there is more bad news from the best farm that money can buy, where Chad Billingsley has again been shut down and is now pending another re-exam of his again painful right elbow. Scratch any plans to see him at Dodgers’ Stadium anytime soon.

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