Livan Large! When Will Hernandez Return to Earth?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, May 04, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

Tonight's starter for the Washington Nationals, Livan Hernandez, has been something of a miracle so far for the surprising Nats, who carry a 13-12 record into the game with the Atlanta Braves.

The "35-year old" righty has baffled and fooled hitters this season to a 3-1 record with an 0.87 ERA in four starts covering 31.0 innings with 10 strikeouts and just eight walks.  He's given up three earned runs TOTAL, two of which came on home runs.

Those numbers are simply remarkable for a man that hasn't finished a season with a sub-4.50 ERA since 2005, the Nats' inaugural season.

But let me throw another number out there for you:  .177.

That's his Batting Average Against on Balls in Play so far this season.  BABiP measures how effectively the defense behind a pitcher turns a batted ball into an out.  As we all know by now, BABiP  essentially measures how lucky a pitcher (or hitter) is over a certain period.

Hernandez' career BABiP is .310, higher than the Major League average of .299.  So Livan gets hit harder than most, most of the time.  Except for so far this season, where he's barely getting hit at all.

So please, enjoy what Hernandez has done so far, because it really has been a remarkable run.  But also know, it isn't humanly possible for him to continue it.  And while it's nice that the Nats have had some success so far this season, temper your expectations knowing that a return to the old Livan could come at any time.