White Sox starting rotation was solid in 2005. Veteran Cuban pitcher had a stellar year on the mound in the regular season and playoffs.
For those who want a flashback to the Sox glory days, I thought it would make sense to give you one. Back in 2005, Jose Contreras went on a second-half run that seemed unfathomable, as he won nine of his final ten decisions. How impressive was his season statistically speaking? Let’s take a look!
Most impressively, in the final two months of ’05 Contreras was nearly unbeatable. While he only posted one Magnum Start in August, it must be stated that he did rack up quality starts in three of his five outings. Fast-forward to September and Contreras fired three Magnum Starts, 66.7 percent of which were in the MPM category.
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Let’s talk about his Quality Start Total (QST) a little bit more. Anytime it is at eight over a two months span (which is Contreras’ case), a pitcher has been doing his fair share of dominating the opposition. On top of that, Contreras kept the ball on the ground, as he recorded double-digit ground balls in nine of his final eleven starts.
Now, those two months may seem dominant, but when you compare them to the first four it is eye-popping. Looking at his MS total for the latter timespan, Contreras only posted three of them, which is one fewer than what tossed in August and September. His QST is a different story, as he did record ten of them but they were in 21 outings (47.6 percent. A far worse percentage than eight of eleven (72.7 percent).
Moving on to traditional statistics, his K/BB rate during the stretch run was astounding. His 62/19 ratio is otherworldly and equates to 3.26 to 1 over those eleven starts. Apart from the latter months, his numbers in that category were 92/56, which evens out to a 1.64/1 ratio for the first four months. Far from the dominant K/BB, he put up in August and September.
Reverting back to his wins and losses, they were very average before August rolled around. So average that he had a .500 record (6-6), with a mediocre ERA of 4.58. Had Contreras not gone on his streak of dominance it is possible the Indians would have overtaken the White Sox in the standings, as they got hot but as a team.
Before we wrap up, it must be stated that having a hot pitcher helped keep the team afloat when they were beginning to struggle in September. Contreras’ ability to go deep into games aided the bullpen, which is running on fumes at that time of the year as all pitchers are.
All in all, Contreras final two months may not be quite at the level of Jake Arrieta’s 2015 campaign, but it was certainly worth its weight in gold. It will never be forgotten by those who follow the South Siders, as Contreras helped break the curse of Shoeless Joe Jackson. These numbers are just a snapshot of how good he was, however, his split-fingered fastball may have been the best pitch in baseball for a short time. If it wasn’t, we might still be looking at a World Series drought. Thankfully we don’t have to, Sox fans.