For one 2 month stretch this season, Matt Chico made 12 starts (7 of them quality), had a 3.52 ERA, and even struck out 34 hitters. Take out one horrendous 8 ER start, and his ERA drops to 2.63 over that stretch. Shawn Hill at one point made 8 straight starts where he went 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA before hitting the DL. Thankfully, in his 2 starts since returning, he has made 2 QS and has given up only 2 ERs. Tim Redding, since coming to the major league squad, has made 9 starts and has a 2.53 ERA. While in his first few starts he may have gotten a bit lucky, he has struck out 7 or more batters in 3 of his last 5 starts. While these guys all have had good runs, they have been doing this almost exclusively of each other. Here are the dates in which these starters went on these great runs
Shawn Hill: April 3 through May 11
Matt Chico: May 7 through July 4
Tim Redding: July 3 through now
Simontacchi and Bascik have both pitched and won, and at times even pitched very well, but neither have done it over any sustained stretch of time. Only Jay Bergmann has approached doing that, and his low strikeout numbers and scary fly ball potential suggested the entire time that he wasn’t built to last. The good news is that Redding and Hill are both pitching well over the last week. Chico was good enough at the beginning of the year that there is still a great deal of hope for him. If those 3 pitchers can be counted on to pitch effectively and concurrently, this team could have the makings of a good pitching staff.
I attended the Nats-Phillies game on Wednesday Aug 15. They say that Philadelphia fans, in general, are the worst in the country. It’s the often heard stories of cheering when Michael Irvin broke his leg, throwing snowballs at Santa, constantly booing Mike Schmidt, selling secrets to the Soviets, etc etc. Well, I had the good fortune of sitting behind this group at Wednesday’s game. I can’t decide whether I admire this sort of ridiculousness or just think it is completely idiotic. But I can say this, despite the fact that the Nationals won the game 4-2 and the Phillies only really threatened once (in the 7th inning, when Ray King and Luis Ayala came in and shut the door getting 3 outs with the bases loaded never surrendering a run), they were by far the most obnoxious fans I have ever been around. And it’s not because of who they were rooting for, it’s the way they were rooting. Thank god they only had a combined total of 10 minutes where they could actually legitimately cheer. I only hope the Nationals never have so many generations of futility, ineffectiveness and underachievement as the Phillies, because if we cheered for the vaunted Washington Nationals with such bitterness and anger I’d be very disappointed. But seriously, nice cape.