Top 30 Starts of 2009 - Part 1

Over the next six weeks I will be bringing you the best starting performances by Rays pitchers this season.  Every Friday you will get the chance to rewind to a better part of the season, when the Rays gave us something to do every night.  So how did I pick the guys that made the cut?  Some might use strikeouts or hits or gamescore or some other statistic.  I took a different approach.  First, I gathered the FIP and wOBA for every start.  Then I ranked each from 1 - 162.  Taking the average of the two I was able to re-rank every start.  That's it.  Without further adieu the 26th - 30th best starts of the year are after the jump.

30)  David Price - July 31st against Kansas City

 IP  H BB SO HR HBP BF 2B 3B 1B  FIP   wOBA   FIP
Rank 
 wOBA
Rank 
Game
Score
   7.0 5 2 3 0 0 27 1 0 4    3.15      0.233      52         26 64

Though he didn't strikeout the world, Velociraptor Jesus was a gopher killer on the day with 13 ground balls.  It should be noted that this estimate of wOBA does not include batters that Reached On Error as that data was difficult to locate.  On this day, Price kept the ball in the yard and only yielded one extra-base hit.

29) Matt Garza - April 9th against Boston

 IP  H BB SO HR HBP BF 2B 3B 1B  FIP   wOBA   FIP
Rank 
 wOBA
Rank 
Game
Score
   7.0 4 3 5 0 0 29 1 1 2    3.01      0.233      48         27 67

In his first start of the season, Garza faced a familiar foe on their home turf.  It was nice to see him come out of the chute ignoring concerns over a heightened workload during the 2008 run to glory.  Having more strikeouts than hits against is a recipe for a dynamite performance.  Garza parlayed 16 flyball outs into a terrific start to the season.

28) Matt Garza - September 19th against Toronto

 IP  H BB SO HR HBP BF 2B 3B 1B  FIP   wOBA   FIP
Rank 
 wOBA
Rank 
Game
Score
   7.3 3 6 10 0 0 30 0 0 3    2.88      0.234      43         29 76

Matty's second appearance on this list came at the tail-end of the season after the Rays had been virtually eliminated from the playoffs.  He hit double digit K's on the night while only allowing three singles.  The flip-side was the 6 walks, but he didn't let it bother him as he didn't allow a run pitching into the 8th.  A Barty to Aki to Willy double play helped lighten his load.

27) Wade Davis - September 23rd against Seattle

 IP  H BB SO HR HBP BF 2B 3B 1B  FIP   wOBA   FIP
Rank 
 wOBA
Rank 
Game
Score
   5.7 7 1 6 0 0 24 0 0 7    1.56      0.293      12         60 48

Wade Davis might not be THE Rookie, but he was A rookie this year and in his fourth start we saw yet again just how dominant the young fireballer can be.  He limited all seven of his hits to singles while only walking one and whiffing six and getting 11 swinging strikes.  He only allowed two earned and was helped by a Ben Zobrist catch-and-gun to home double play.

26) David Price - August 23rd against Texas

 IP  H BB SO HR HBP BF 2B 3B 1B  FIP   wOBA   FIP
Rank 
 wOBA
Rank 
Game
Score
   7.0 3 3 4 0 0 27 2 0 1    3.29      0.205      54         17 60

Price's second entry of this group saw him in a game that we all figured would be pivotal in the Wild Card chase.  On a day when our bats put up a goose egg, you can't fault fault David for taking the loss.  Seven strong with 3 Earned Runs against is good enough to get you a Quality Start.  Throw in a measly three hits against and we can see why this was one of the best starts of the year.

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