Saturday, August 6, 2011

Contemplating Nick Blackburn

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.
Another poor outing for Nick Blackburn against the White Sox on Friday: He allowed 13 baserunners while getting just 16 outs, and that's not counting the two errors made behind him. He served up a pair of home runs and set a personal worst with six walks.

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.


  1. Methinks he's terrible. Methinks that he's one of Gardy's guys. Methinks this is also why he got an extension, unnecessarily. Methinks that's why we have to sit and watch him struggle through this vs. trying another option. Methinks this is why Gardy needs to be over-ruled by the front-office more or be gone with all of them.

    Mike Corey

  2. Methinks Gardy is why we have Capps over Ramos. Pavano over Hardy. Liriano, Casilla, Ploufe, getting torched in the media by Gardy. If you're not one of his guys, he gone. I'm of the mindset Valencia had to play way over his head last year to even get a shot. He's gotten his shot. It's inexcusable to play Cuddy at 2nd. We need to see if Ploufe can play second while Casilla is out.

  3. it seems like blackburn can start the season "okay," but he always seems to fall apart down the stretch...maybe he can't handle his workload?