|Nick Blackburn had his best outing of 2012 on|
Friday, lowering his ERA to 7.46.
He had on Friday what I view as a prototypical "good" Blackburn start: 6.2 innings, seven hits, one run, no walks, two strikeouts.
The no walks (and no home runs) is good. The two strikeouts, not so much.
Dick Bremer at one point said something like: As good as Blackburn's sinker has been, he hasn't gotten any double plays.
Well, sinker or no, Blackburn wasn't really ground-ball heavy. The MLB.com feed credited him with nine ground outs, seven flyouts. ESPN had his mix even -- nine grounders, nine flyballs. This is probably a higher ground ball rate than usual for him, but not all that heavy a rate. (Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar, a very similar pitcher to Blackburn, had a 10 GB/4FB ratio, according to MLB.com.)
It's an odd thing: Blackburn relies on a two-seam, sinking fastball, and doesn't get all that many grounders. Scott Diamond tends to rely on what MLB.com identifies as a four-seam fastball -- straighter and harder than a two-seamer -- and generally gets at least twice as many grounders as flyballs.
I'm not inclined to complain about 6.2 innings of one-run ball. But I view this outing much as I did Cole DeVries' start on Thursday. DeVries threw six innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts -- but he had just two ground ball outs.
DeVries gives up a lot of fly balls, which leads to a high home run rate. Blackburn can't miss bats.
It's certainly possible to have good outings despite those flaws. It's very difficult to do so consistently.