The last time Ricky Nolasco took the mound in a game situation, he was making history.
On Sept. 30 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Nolasco set a Marlins record by striking out 16 batters. In one stretch, from the third through fifth innings, he fanned nine consecutive Braves, falling one shy of a Major League record.
Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, on April 22, 1970, whiffed 10 consecutive Padres, a mark that remains unmatched. The rarity of nine in a row is reflected by the fact that number has been reached only four times in history -- and three since 1900.
The way Nolasco breezed through the Braves' lineup that night has many wondering if he can elevate his game to where he could be a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter.
This actually pisses me off. Ricky is a top-of-the- rotation starter! Geez, what world are you living in where he isn't? In 2008 he was 2nd in WHIP, 7th in IP, 2nd in K/BB, 9th in H/9, 8th in K, 3rd in BB/9, 10th in HR. That was the year he increased his number of innings thrown over the previous year by roughly, I don't know, about a 190, which is a ridiculous amount. In 2009 he started off sluggish as one would expect given the previous year's increase in workload. Yet still he finished the season 3rd in K/BB, 7th in K, 3rd in ER, 10th in BB/9.
Ricky is a top-of-the-rotation starter and if he strings a couple more good years together, he will reach elite status. Nolasco has the stuff, but whether he obtains the status will solely depend on how healthy he remains.