With another excellent effort last night, Jair Jurrjens continued his excellent start to the 2011 season. In his 9 starts, he has yet to give up more than 2 earned runs in a start. Equally impressive is that he has yet to walk more than 2 batters in any start.
Jurrjens' walk rate for the season now stands at 1.5 BB/9 (or 4.5% BB%). That's half of his previous career levels of 3.2 BB/9 and 8.5 BB%. It is undoubtedly the key to his renewed success, as his strikeout rate has actually gone down this year (5.2 K/9 compared to 6.4 K/9 career before this year).
How impressive is Jurrjens' streak? Well, he's only the third starting pitcher since 1919 to start a season with 9 games of 2 or fewer ER and 2 or fewer BB. Here's the list:
- Juan Marichal, 10 in 1966
- Bill Hands, 9 in 1968
- Jair Jurrjens, 9 in 2011
No one else has even had an 8-game streak to start a season. Not even Greg Maddux (whose longest streak to start a season was actually only 5 games).
Of course, the "to start a season" modifier is kind of cheap, because really, why does it matter when the streak starts? Jurrjens also fares extremely well when you consider all streaks, not just those to start a season. His 9-game streak ranks in a many-way tie for 17th all time. Here are the only 16 players to top him:
Boy, that Greg Maddux guy was pretty good, wasn't he?
Among those tied with Jurrjens with a 9-game streak are Chris Carpenter (2008-9), Zack Greinke (2009), Kevin Millwood (1999), and the Hall of Famers Don Drysdale (1968) and Pete "Grover Cleveland" Alexander (1919).
Not bad company for a 25-year-old.