For the first time since in 42 years, Bob Gibson's record setting 1.12 ERA might have some competition in the sort of second coming of the Year of the Pitcher.
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez has a 1.15 ERA one-third of the way through the season. But the low ERAs of this season haven't led to the epic pitchers' duels similar to those of 1968.
On June 20 of that year, the aces of the Cardinals and the Cubs locked horns at Busch Memorial Stadium in one of the epic pitchers duels of all-time. Bob Gibson, who at the time had an 7-5 record despite the fact that he had a 1.21 ERA for the season, faced off against Fergie Jenkins who was 6-7 with a 2.33 ERA.
Both pitchers went the distance as the Cardinals prevailed 1-0 on a two-out RBI single to left by centerfielder Curt Flood who drove home Lou Brock. The Birds were 1-for-2 with runners in scoring position while the Wee Bears were 0-for-1. Only five Cubs hit safely compared to four Redbirds safeties -- two of which belonged to Flood.
Jenkins, in the midst of an 18-plus inning streak in which he allowed only one run, was tagged with the loss.
Gibby went on to go 22-9 and finish with a 1.12 ERA. How did he lose nine? Well, the Cardinals had a tough time scoring runs that year, too. On May 17 he pitched 9 2/3 innings against Philadelphia only to lose 1-0. Only May 22 he two-hit the Dodgers for eight innings and lost 2-0. He upped his record from 5-5 to 10-5 in late June when Gibby threw five consecutive shut outs, surrendered one run to the Giants on July 1. Then he threw three more shut outs in his next four games to go to 14-10.
By the beginning of August, Gibby's ERA stood at 0.99.
Every start Gibson made in June, July and August went AT LEAST nine innings. Jiminez, with a 13-1 record, has only gone as far as nine innings pitched once this season.
They truly don't make 'em like they used to anymore.
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