Paul Byrd = Kevin Millwood?

Well, he certainly is well on his way.

As you may remember, back in 2005 Kevin Millwood led the American League in ERA with a mark of 2.86, pitching extremely well in a contract year on the way to stunningly underwhelming 9-11 record. In case recent history isn’t your tip, the otherwise potent Tribe offense sputtered when Millwood took the hill, producing a rotation-low 3.63 runs per start, including a stretch of 4 starts where the Indians offense was shut out. As you may know, though he’s only made six starts so far, Byrd-o looks to be the early favorite for the Kevin Millwood Wasted Start Award. Take a look (Runs/G represents run support):

G W-L ERA Runs/G
Kevin Millwood, 2005 30 9-11 2.86 3.63
Paul Byrd, 2008 6 1-2 3.74 3.50

With the way Byrd has been pitching since he got roughed up by the Angels in his second start, I hope the Indians’ bats can wake up for him before he fully completes the prophecy and leaves at the end of the season (to pitch in a ballpark that is horrific for pitchers).

When looking back at the 2005 season to compare Byrd and Millwood, I found another weird parallel between the 2005 season and this year… Cliff Lee (kinda). Observe:

G W-L ERA Runs/G
Cliff Lee, 2005 32 18-5 3.79 6.22
Cliff Lee, 2008 5 5-0 0.96 4.60

Now, obviously the ERA is a big difference for Cliff this year, but the offense is already providing Lee huge cushions while leaving the most veteran starter in the lurch. Also, the Indians offense game Lee 7 or more runs in 12 of his 32 starts in 2007, or once every two and a half (1 per 2.67 to be exact) starts or so… the same can be said so far in 2008, where the Indians have done it precisely once every 2 1/2 starts for Lee (2 out of 5)

Though it’s early this season and trends can certainly turn on a dime in May, I find these similarities to the run support provided in ’05 to be very interesting. Hopefully the end of September isn’t the same this time around. Luckily for 2008 Indians fans, Millwood was ostensibly the #2 pitcher for those Indians and Lee was the #4 (Sabathia, Millwood, Westbrook, Lee, Elarton) as opposed to this year’s rotation (Sabathia, Carmona, Byrd, Westbrook, Lee)… so that’s nice.

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