Ubaldo Jimenez wins again, but scoreless streak ends at 33 innings

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Ubaldo Jimenez’s scoreless streak came to an end yesterday afternoon at 33 innings, as he cruised through seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks before serving up a two-run homer to Conor Jackson for his first runs allowed since May 15.
Orel Hershiser’s record streak of 59 innings from 1988 is safe again (for now), but 11-1 with a 0.93 ERA is still pretty damn amazing. In fact, the last pitcher with a lower ERA in the first 12 starts of a season is Dutch Leonard way back in 1914. Seriously. Leonard went 19-5 with a 0.96 ERA in 224.2 innings for the Red Sox that year, completing 17 of his 25 starts and also appearing 11 times out of the bullpen.
The modern record for ERA is of course Bob Gibson with a 1.12 mark in 1968. Gibson threw 304.2 innings that year, which is a workload Jimenez will obviously never approach, but if Jimenez ends up with, say, 230 innings he’d have to post a 1.20 ERA from now until the end of the season. In other words, doing what Gibson did–even in 230 innings instead of 300 innings–is extraordinarily difficult regardless of how amazing someone is through 12 starts.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.