Ubaldo Jimenez left last night’s start after a season-low 92 pitches because of hamstring cramping, but not before holding the Astros’ lowly lineup to one hit over seven shutout innings. Jimenez is now 8-1 with a 0.99 ERA through nine starts, with his only loss coming on May 9 when he allowed just two hits over seven innings of one-run ball only to see Clayton Kershaw shut out the Rockies.
Plenty of players have amazing numbers six weeks into every season, but I was curious about how Jimenez’s blazing start stacks up against recent Cy Young winners. Here’s what the past 10 award winners did through their first nine starts:
YEAR CYA WINNER W L ERA 2009 Tim Lincecum 3 1 3.45 2009 Zack Greinke 7 1 0.82 2008 Tim Lincecum 5 1 1.92 2008 Cliff Lee 7 1 1.50 2007 Jake Peavy 5 1 1.64 2007 CC Sabathia 6 1 3.65 2006 Brandon Webb 6 0 2.78 2006 Johan Santana 4 4 3.23 2005 Chris Carpenter 6 2 4.07 2005 Bartolo Colon 5 3 2.67
Jimenez has more victories through nine starts than any of the past 10 winners and only Zack Greinke last season had a lower ERA. Greinke ended up with just 16 wins last season because the Royals’ lineup and bullpen repeatedly let him down in the second half, but he was 7-1 with a 0.82 ERA through nine starts and 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA through 10 starts. Jimenez would need to throw 11.2 shutout innings in his next start to get his ERA down to 0.84.
In general though, Jimenez in definitely off to a Cy Young-winning start, as the past 10 award winners have averaged 5.4 wins, 1.5 losses, and a 2.57 ERA through nine outings. Of course, when Livan Hernandez is right on Jimenez’s heels with a 1.62 ERA it’s probably way too early to start thinking about such things.