Yesterday I mentioned that Livan was off to perhaps the best start in Nats history, depending on whether or not you like a certain player from 2005’s start better. I was wondering, though, how it stacked in the history of the franchise, going back to the Expos. So is there a starter that had a beginning of the year, through 4 starts, as good as Livan’s? Only sub-1.00 ERAs here, only if they’ve had 4 Quality Starts. I only found a few occurrences, and one guy did it twice. You may have heard of him.
1992 – Ken Hill – 4 QS, 31 IP, 14 K, 0.87 ERA. Two 7 inning, one 8 and one 9 inning start.
1997 – Pedro Martinez – 4 QS, 29 1/3 IP, 32 K, 0.31 ERA. Of his 4 starts, he had one each go 6, 7,8 and 9 innings pitched.
1998 – Pedro Martinez – 4 QS, 32 IP, 44 K, 0.84 ERA. Two CGs, two 7 inning starts.
Interestingly, in 1975, Woodie Fryman started 3 games, came in for relief for a game, then started another game. In those 4 starts, here’s what he did:
1975 – Woodie Fryman – 4 QS, 33 IP, 28 K, 0.55 ERA. 3 of the starts were CG shutouts, the first game was a 6 IP performance.
The relief appearance was a 2/3 inning scoreless outing, so I’ll count this one, too.
Finally, it’s not quite the start of the season, instead it’s the start of a career. Steve Rogers debuted for the Expos in 1973, starting his first 4 games in the majors from July 18 through Aug 4. He managed this line:
1973 – Steve Rogers – 4 QS, 35 IP, 15 K, 0.77 ERA, 3 CGs (2 were Shutouts) and an 8 inning appearance
Who knows maybe we’ll see a similar line to start a career this summer. Although there’s no way Strasburg will have 3 complete games, unless he’s pitching perfectos.
Back to Living in the Now
The Nats have now had a week straight of Quality Starts. If you check out their standings in the NL in terms of pitching (on the right side of this page), you’ll notice it has improved. As Stan Kasten likes to say, without good starting pitching, nothing is possible. With good starting pitching, anything is possible.