Monday, May 16, 2011

Jair Jurrjens Quietly Having Great Season

Jair Jurrjens doesn't get as most attention as Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, and Derek Lowe, but a month and a half into the 2011 season the best pitcher in Atlanta has been Jurrjens.  His most recent win, a 5-3 win against the Phillies on Saturday, was his second win against Philadelphia since May 8.  He took a perfect game into the sixth inning, retiring the first 17 Phillies he faced.  He finished his day with 7.1 innings pitched, giving up three hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out six and walking only one.

After coming back from the disabled list, where Jurrjens opened the season with a right oblique strain, he has been phenomenal.  He is tied for the National League lead in wins, with five.  He is second in the majors in ERA, behind Josh Johnson by only .03 runs (Jurrjens' 1.66 to Johnson's 1.63).  He has the third lowest WHIP in the NL at 0.99.  He has thrown at least six innings in each of his six starts and he has yet to give up more than two earned runs in a start.

The Braves won two out of three games against the Phillies this past weekend, and now sit only 3.5 games back of Philadelphia in the NL East.  The Braves, however, have a lower team ERA (2.99) than the Phillies (3.13) do this season.  The Phillies sport a team batting average ten points higher than the Braves (.253 compared to .243), so if the Braves' hitting can come around and match up with Jurrjens and the rest of their spectacular pitching staff, the Braves could continue to climb closer to Philadelphia in the standings.

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