Livan Hernandez continues to dominate every time he goes out there. Not through striking anyone out, mind you, he only has 10 of those in 31 IP. But he’s third in the majors in starter ERA sitting pretty at 0.87. He’s also 7th in WHIP at the same number – 0.87. His start to the season, which many thought would be a typical up and down year for him with a final ERA between 4.50 and 5.50 (at least I did) has been, to say the least, impressive. He’s pitched at least 7 innings in all 4 appearances, hasn’t only given up more than 1 ER once so far, when he gave up 2. He lost 2-1 that game, so he’s sitting at a record of 3-1. Off to a great start, sure, but it’s downright historic for this franchise.
In the history of the Nationals, a start like this has happened once, and only once before. Any guess who started out the season ALMOST this well, but not quite? I’ll let you stew on it, you can click the link to read more and get the answer.
It’s John Patterson! In 2005, he pitched in his first 4 games of the season by going for 7 innings in all games but one where he went 6 2/3, gave up 0 ER twice, 1 once, and 2 once (same earned runs as Livan), and had a 0.98 ERA over the span. He stuck out 23 batters in that span, and went 2-1. Patterson also managed to have a 4 game stretch later in the same year on par with Livan’s start. He pitched 31 innings in 4 starts from July 19th through Aug 4th, managed a 0.87 ERA, had two 8 inning performances, a CG, and a 6 inning start, while going 2-1. Almost identical to Livan except JP struck out 37 in that stretch. Unfortunately for John, and the Nats, it was downhill from there.
Other than that, a stretch of 4 games started, with 4 quality starts and a sub-one ERA? Couldn’t find one. No John Lannan stretch like that, no Shaun Hill or Matt Chico stretch either. It wasn’t Ross Detwiler at the end of last year, or Shairon Martis at the beginning. The closest thing I saw to it was at the end of 2005. From Sept 13th through the 26th, this pitcher only had two 6 inning performances, coupled with a 5 2/3 and a short 4 IP game. But in that span of 21 2/3 IP he only gave up 2 ER, struck out 23, and went 1-0, while the Nats went 3-1. He was, and still is, Hector Carrasco.
So enjoy Livan while he’s dealing like this. First of all, who knows when it’s gonna stop. Secondly, it hasn’t really happened much at all before. One or two more starts like this and it will be definitively the best run by any pitcher since this franchise came to Washington.