Year of the Pitcher

Matt ShafferContributor IOctober 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 06:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on October 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Phillies defeated the Reds 4-0.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The MLB Playoffs have only been in play for two days, but that is long enough to figure out that this is the year. The year of the pitcher.

So far, we've seen two phenomenal pitching performances by Roy Halladay, who threw just the second no-hitter in the history of the league's post-season and a complete game shutout by Tim Lincecum, who only allowed two hits while striking out 14, the most since 2000 when Roger Clemens had 15.

What gives though?

Are hitters struggling because they aren't using steroids?

Are pitchers getting better because of a lack of performance enhancing drugs used by hitters?

The answer to both of these is yes. It's a run-off effect.

This season was one of the most unique seasons for pitchers in the league's history. We saw two perfect games, which should have been three if not for a blow call by Jim Joyce (Sorry Armando). We also saw three no-hitters for a combined total of five, which is the most since 1991.

Hitters, however, haven't been up to par in doing their jobs. The average runs per game this season is 4.38, the lowest since 1992. And this is when teams are building smaller parks to add more excitement for fans. Want more proof? Home runs per game this season are at 0.95, the lowest since 1993, which was 0.89. To me, this proves that most players are now stopping their steroid regimens and are doing it the "natural" way. The way it should be.

Are we in a new era?

I believe we are indeed in a new era of baseball. Things are changing, teams are finding out what truly wins: pitching. Just look no further than the last two days. Pitchers are just dominating opponents and making it look easy out there. Quite a difference from just four or five years ago, when runs were up almost half a run than what they are now. Get use to this baseball fans, it's going to last for awhile and that is fine by me.