|Nick Blackburn has already set a career mark for|
most walks allowed, and has the worst WHIP
among AL pitchers who qualify for the ERA title.
The White Sox did not draw a walk in their just-completed four game series against the Yankees. Blackburn walked two in the first inning Friday.
The wonder of it is that he allowed only four runs. It could have been much worse.
It often has. This was Blackburn's 23rd start of the season. He's allowed at least five runs in nine of those starts. He was the starting pitcher in Game 1 of April 28, when the Twins lost 15-3; the starting pitcher on June 27, when the Twins lost 15-0; and the starting pitcher on July 25, when the Twins lost 20-5.
And yet his ERA for the season is 4.58. That's not the worst figure in the league; it's not even the second worst in the Twins rotation (Carl Pavano is at 4.90, Francisco Liriano at 5.03).
It's also deceptive, because he's allowed so many unearned runs. Pavano has allowed 86 runs in 145 innings, or 5.34 runs per nine innings; Blackburn has allowed 85 runs in 135.2 innings, or 5.64 per nine.
Yes, his ERA understates his runs allowed by more than a run per full game. Astounding.
Blackburn has allowed 16 unearned runs this year. The rest of the rotation — Pavano, Liriano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing — has combined to allow 20 unearned runs.
In 2010, Blackburn allowed four unearned runs. His ERA was 5.41; his TRA (total runs average) was 5.65.
Look at that again: 5.65 runs per nine innings last year, 5.64 this year.
Methinks we have a trend here.