In Tim Hudson's last start, he gave up 6 runs in 6.2 innings. I'm sure nearly all of us forgave him for his poor start, though. After all, it was his first truly bad start of the year. In fact, he had not given up more than 4 runs in a start since 2008, before his Tommy John surgery. That's a span of 26 consecutive non-terrible starts. Which of course made me wonder just how impressive such a streak is.
The answer? Pretty impressive, though not record-breaking or anything. In fact, Huddy's streak was not even the longest such streak by a Braves starter that ended this year. Here are the top 20 streaks without a Failure Start (5+ runs allowed) since 2000:
1. Jake Peavy, 39 starts (8/31/2003 to 5/4/2005)
2. Johan Santana, 35 starts (7/15/2006 to 7/18/2007)
3. Johan Santana, 32 starts (5/29/2004 to 5/11/2005)
4. Clayton Kershaw, 31 starts (5/1/2009 to 4/29/2010)
T5. Roger Clemens, 29 starts (9/8/2004 to 8/13/2005)
T5. Josh Johnson, 29 starts (4/24/2009 to 9/29/2009)
7. Tom Glavine, 28 starts (6/23/2001 to 5/7/2002)
T8. Pedro Astacio, 27 starts (7/27/2001 to 8/6/2002)
T8. Tommy Hanson, 27 starts (6/12/2009 to 5/10/2010)
T8. Dustin Hermanson, 27 starts (6/27/2001 to 4/13/2004)
T11. Roy Oswalt, 26 starts (5/13/2006 to 4/7/2007)
T11. Brandon Webb, 26 starts (4/27/2003 to 9/17/2003)
T11. Tim Hudson, 26 starts (7/23/2008 to 7/10/2010)
T14. Randy Wolf, 25 starts (6/29/2009 to 5/8/2010)
T14. John Patterson, 25 starts (9/10/2004 to 8/4/2005)
T14. Darrell May, 25 starts (8/17/2002 to 7/24/2003)
T14. Roy Oswalt, 25 starts (4/18/2003 to 5/8/2004)
T18. Chris Carpenter, 24 starts (5/12/2005 to 9/18/2005)
T18. Johan Santana, 24 starts (7/16/2005 to 5/17/2006)
T18. Jake Peavy, 24 starts (4/25/2007 to 9/1/2007)
The longest active streak, by the way, is Josh Johnson's 19-start streak that began with his first start of 2010.
Nine of the 20 spots on the list are taken up by Cy Young winners, and that's not even counting Oswalt or Hudson, who have been near-Cy Young quality for portions of their careers. Johnson, Hanson, and Kershaw have very bright futures ahead of them as well; any of them could win Cy Youngs in the future (Johnson might win it this year). The ones that stand out as surprises are May, Hermanson, and Patterson. Astacio's streak is maybe the most impressive, if only because he pitched half his games at pre-humidor Coors Field.
I don't know about you guys, but I was very surprised to see Tommy Hanson higher on this list than Hudson. I wouldn't be too worried about Tommy's few bad outings this year (he's had 4 Failure Starts)... it's probably just some bad luck catching up to him after a long stretch of good luck. On another Braves note, I think we probably under-appreciate the early 2000s-era Tom Glavine. He wasn't as dominant as he was in the 1990s, but he was very consistent, as shown by his high place on this list.
I have one non-Braves comment: Johan Santana is still a very good pitcher, but he's nothing like the force of nature that he was from 2004 to 2007 with the Twins. From May 29, 2004 to the end of the 2007 season (a span of 124 starts), he had only 7 Failure Starts. That's a Failure Percentage of only 5.6%. By contrast, he's had 13 Failure Starts in 79 starts since joining the Mets, a 16.4% Failure Percentage.
Let's hope Huddy can start up another long streak in his next outing!