Pitching, that is what will define the 2010 Major League Baseball season. Whether it is the amount of no-hitters we’ve seen thus far, or the perfect game that deserves an asterisk, this year has been loaded with low scoring games and great pitching. Ironically, it is those two things that are often criticized for making the game boring.
However, as a fan of both close games and pitching, I thought it might be good to look at what the two things actually have done for the game this year.
First up, we have to talk about the no-hitters. This year, the game has seen five pitchers throw no-hitters, two of which were perfect games. Three, if you include Armando Galarraga’s incredible outing that slipped out of the record books due to a clearly questionable call.
We almost had three perfect games this year. Before this season we’ve never had two in the same season during the modern era but Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden decided to make May the month of the pitcher, until Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies decided he would like June to be as well. Jimenez ran off 33 scoreless innings into the beginning of June. Apparently he decided that his 25+ scoreless inning streak in April, which included a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves, was just not good enough.
Then there is Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals’ rookie has brought an unbelievable excitement to baseball in the Nation’s Capital. After 9 starts he has a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts to only 15 walks, that kind of control should have politicians taking notes on how to run things.
Yeah all the pitching statistics are impressive, but what if you are not into that kind of thing? What if you’re bored with pitching, is there anything exciting about this season for you?
Let’s take a look at the competitiveness of the division races.
This year as of August 1st, of the top two teams in each division only one was separated by more than 2.5 games that’s the American League West. In 2009 at the same point, half of the division leaders were separated by four or more games. Through this point of the year this season there are 20 teams playing at .500 or better, and at the same time last year, only 16 teams were playing at the same level, and only 15 the year before that.
The pitching may be getting all the attention this year due to the no-hitters, but it has made the Major League Baseball more competitive as a whole.
As far as the game goes, I guess that depends on how you look at it, but it seems that when a majority of the games are more competitive, that same majority is also more fun to watch. Or at least more fun to watch than A-Rod still attempting to hit home run number 600 weeks later, right?