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  1. That’s funny; I was just looking at Justin Masterson’s BABIP of .412 and thinking, ‘wow, that’s unlucky.’ (his is the current highest in MLB)

    Comment by dlb — May 19, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  2. I was considering writing this exact post if he managed to squeeze by the Mets tonight. Damn you David Cameron!!!

    :)

    Comment by The A Team — May 19, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  3. How is 49 innings of 1.46 ERA worth only 0.3 WAR? That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Comment by Obligatory Sox Fan — May 19, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  4. Pitcher’s WAR is scaled to FIP, not ERA.

    Comment by Alex — May 19, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

  5. Yeah just going to his page and seeing 98.6% for his LOB is insane. I wonder if a starting pitcher has ever had that kind of luck this far into the season?

    Comment by Disturbed — May 19, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  6. All solo home runs? That’s a pretty goofy stat, too.

    Comment by Brian — May 19, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  7. Out of pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings, he’s also giving up more line drives than anyone in baseball. So the BABIP is probably higher than it should be, but it’s not insanely unlucky.

    Comment by Teej — May 19, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  8. He’s pitching to the situation very well.

    And knows how to win.

    Comment by sean — May 19, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  9. He really bears down with runners on base.

    Comment by r0ry — May 19, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  10. and the Nats are given a 60% chance of winning tonight by Vegas and a 66% chance by UnAccuScore. Might not be the game he blows up on, but eventually it will happen. :)
    vr, Xei

    Comment by xeifrank — May 19, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  11. I’m fully on board with Livan, despite everything in my head and in his stats saying it will all come crashing down. You fail to account for the possibility that a soul was bartered.

    Comment by Theron — May 19, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

  12. Theron,

    Is it possible to measure this? If you can’t measure it for us, can you at least use your inside info tell us if Pudge Rodriguez has also bartered his soul?

    Though his BABIP – previously well north of .400 – has dropped siginificantly since I last looked. It’s now only like 40 points above his career average, not 140.

    So can you explain what happened? After his years as a zombie, did Pudge not have as much soul left to sell and the deal has run out early?

    Comment by Patrick — May 19, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  13. I’ll look into it, but I’m pretty sure that the D.C. area has easy access to soul traders. Lobbyists too, if you differentiate.

    Comment by Theron — May 19, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

  14. Twins fans saw a less extreme version of this for 2 months in 2008. It too the notoriously anti-SABR front office WAY too long to figure out Livan hadn’t figured out a magic trick nobody else knew when the wheels came off.

    Comment by toby — May 19, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

  15. too = took

    Comment by toby — May 19, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

  16. Especially not a guy who rears back for “something extra” and hits 82.

    Comment by Mat — May 19, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  17. …and he’s doing it AGAIN tonight through five. Un. Real.

    Comment by toby — May 19, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  18. What I find really funny is how tv analysts will praise Livan and say that he has reinvented himself as an above average pitcher. Not once do you hear them say “I think he’s been lucky”. Bobby Ojeda on Mets pregame, for example.

    Comment by Mikel — May 19, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

  19. He doesn’t let the game get away from him. Veteran savvy.

    Comment by Temo — May 19, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

  20. Steve Phillips famously predicted a few weeks ago that Livan was SO BAD that the Nationals would actually release him from the team before August. This was long after his surge was underway. Phillips is a moron, of course, but he’s way out ahead on this at least.

    And holy christ, Livan did it again tonight.

    Comment by Esoteric — May 19, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  21. He’s winning games. Maybe he just gets clutch when there are runners in scoring position?

    Comment by J. Lewkovich — May 19, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  22. Another win for the machine tonight. They Call Him Liván!

    Comment by Just Jim — May 19, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  23. I read the title and thought this article was going to about Carlos Silva. I figured the ‘luck’ was that Silva found his way to the NL and all of sudden is on base to return to a 3.0 WAR pitcher like he was for those couple of years on the Twins.

    I guessed the right position, but wrong guy…

    Comment by Rondo — May 19, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  24. Livan may have something going on we can’t measure well with our math. Or maybe this is because he has an ungodly good defensive outfield behind him which keeps that BABIP lower than you would normally think? Personally I would love to see him keep it up!

    Comment by PhD Brian — May 19, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

  25. I’m enjoying the success Livan is having so far, it’s just hilarious. Sure he’s lucky, but the fact is he isn’t giving up many runs and that’s all that matters. They have to just take this while they can though because I don’t know how long it will last.

    It would be a tough situation as a manager when he starts to struggle and you want to demote him. You have to show some faith in a veteran who’s been a big part of the franchise in the past and who has been the best pitcher for the first two months, but when you know he’s been extremely lucky it would be hard to trust that he’d get back to pitching great.

    Comment by Pat — May 20, 2010 @ 12:08 am

  26. The luckiest man alive is Jules Jordan, not Livan Hernandez..

    Comment by Tim Tebow — May 20, 2010 @ 12:44 am

  27. And to think, a young stud with a 95mph rocket would be getting rocked. Veteran Savvy on display every time he takes to the mound. He doesnt know how to get them out, make them look bad, he jus knows how to WIN.

    Comment by Cidron — May 20, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  28. I have another candidate for luckiest man alive, and he might take the cake given the greater period over which he has been lucky: Dan Wheeler.

    2008
    BABIP .202 (66.1 IP)

    2009
    BABIP .203 (57.2 IP)

    2010
    BABIP .181 (13.1 IP) – and this comes with a 97.8% strand rate to boot

    Comment by Monkey Boy — May 20, 2010 @ 1:50 am

  29. There is an Irish saying something along the lines of “May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead.” I am hoping that Livo goes through the All-Star Break as he is playing now before the stats realize he’s cheating them. If he can manage that, then there is the chance that Chien-Ming Wang can pick up the slack, or maybe Ross Detwiler, if the Nats continue to be lucky.

    Comment by Positively Half St — May 20, 2010 @ 7:12 am

  30. Or maybe they have some other talent in the minor leagues that can pick up the slack? I hear some kid pitched decently last night in Syracuse. Steven Steinberg or something like that.

    Obviously you’re saying they’ll need more than Jesus to pick up the slack if/when the numbers catch up to Livan, and I agree but the Nats can also hope that the numbers catch up to Stammen, who has been quite good and quite unlucky this year. ERA of 5.86, xFIP of 3.93.

    I just hope to God that someone in the Nats front office is aware of how sharp Stammen has been and they keep him around when the stars show up next month instead of keeping, say, Atilano, who has been Livan-like with his good fortune and deceptively good “traditional” stat line.

    Comment by Bowdenball — May 20, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  31. He’s such a crafty right-hander. He really knows how to win.

    Comment by Dave Woody — May 20, 2010 @ 9:16 am

  32. “The luckiest man alive is Jules Jordan”

    Agreed, Tim. And Jenna is in Philly this weekend.

    Comment by MattyG — May 20, 2010 @ 9:25 am

  33. It happens.

    Comment by Faust — May 20, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  34. He’s got a big dick!

    Comment by Ruins It for Everyone — May 20, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  35. His BABIP is .193 though, even playing the best 8 defenders in the MLB all season, it won’t stay that low.

    Comment by Bill — May 20, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  36. Fat, soft-tossing righty seems to be on the right track, though.

    Comment by Kevin S. — May 20, 2010 @ 10:39 am

  37. I believe the saying is… I’d rather be lucky, than good.

    I’m sure right now Livan agrees.

    Comment by Lintyfresh — May 20, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  38. “Out of pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings, he’s also giving up more line drives than anyone in baseball.”

    This isn’t even close to accurate.

    Comment by Alex — May 20, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  39. The line drive comment was about Masterson, not Livo.

    Masterson does have the highest line drive % out of all pitchers with 30 IP.

    Comment by Lintyfresh — May 20, 2010 @ 11:44 am

  40. I totally agree with that statement.

    Comment by Jamie Gold — May 20, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  41. “Masterson does have the highest line drive % out of all pitchers with 30 IP.”

    No he does not. The stats are posted on this very site; it should not be hard for you guys to figure this out. After you click “30 IP” then you have to sort the table again. Masterson is just at the table of the random set by default.

    Masterson LD%: 21.5

    There are like 30 guys with worse rates, such as:

    Bud Norris: 27.4

    or

    Matt Harrison: 23.4

    Comment by Alex — May 20, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  42. Maybe Livan is consistently working ahead in the count and getting defensive swings, leading to pop-ups and weak grounders.

    Comment by Rollo — May 21, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  43. Remember hearing stories about how Maddox would serve up homers to guys late in lopsided games so he’d set them up for pressure situations later in the season?

    Those things would, of course, NEVER show up in the stats. But the Braves won a lot of games in which he pitched.

    Now, I don’t think Livo’s doing that. I’m just sayin, however, that this level of consistency would appear to be more than just luck. Just because we can’t explain it in the abstract, with statistics, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Comment by kevin rusch — May 21, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  44. This is the first season since early ’05 that Livan’s knee hasn’t bothered him, and he discovered Racquetball during the off-season, got hooked on it and worked himself into the best shape he’s been in several years. What he’s been doing isn’t all luck, it may not even be mostly luck. He’s as crafty as they come, a real throwback, who knows how to pitch, versus just throwing. Don’t forget that he did it again in this last start on only 3 days rest. The writer seems to forget that Livan was once a World Series MVP.

    Comment by BagsMD — May 21, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  45. According to the sacred scrolls it will last until the coming of the Stras. So, that fangraphs will come to know their stats mean nothing when compared to the great pattern of noological meaning. So let it be told. So let it be written.

    Comment by Guru Meditation — May 21, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  46. He’s the most mystical pitcher in the league (remember that one?)

    Comment by Fergie348 — May 21, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  47. I’ll second that.

    Comment by Robert Johnson — March 22, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

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