The Great Eight: MLB starters with sub-2.00 ERAs

If early returns are any indication, 2013 could be the year of the pitcher in Major League Baseball. Eight starting pitchers have totaled at least 50 innings and have earned-run averages below 2.00. How special is that? Well, consider that the last six Cy Young Award winners posted an average ERA of 2.45. And while eight starters with a sub-2.00 ERA is a crazy number at this point in the season, three pitchers came up just short of joining the club — Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers (2.05), Madison Bumgarner of the Giants (2.18), and Travis Wood of the Cubs (2.03). Here are the eight starters who are playing two-below.

(Editor's note: This was originally The Nasty Nine, but Detroit's Justin Verlander gave up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against Texas on Thursday and saw his ERA rise from 1.93 to ... 3.17. Ouch.)

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Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
6-0, 1.52 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 53.1 innings pitched, 6.92 K/9
I bet the pitching-starved Angels wish they hadn't traded Corbin to Arizona in 2010 as part of the Dan Haren deal.


Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
5-1, 1.84 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 58.2 innings pitched, 8.44 K/9
Countryman Yu Darvish gets the hype because of K's, but the 32-year-old Iwakuma has been consistently better.


Shelby Miller, Cardinals
5-2, 1.40 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 51.1 innings pitched, 9.99 K/9
The 22-year-old has nine career starts. And they all have been awesome.


Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
7-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 58.2 innings pitched, 5.98 K/9
If you said before the season that Zimmerman would be better than Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, you are a fibber.


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
4-2, 1.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 64.1 innings pitched, 9.37 K/9
Kershaw is so good he can almost make you forget the Dodgers are in last place. Almost.


Matt Harvey, Mets
4-0, 1.44 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 56.1 innings pitched, 9.91 K/9
Harvey gives the struggling Mets something to be excited about. He faces the Cubs on Friday.


Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
6-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 58.2 innings pitched, 9.20 K/9
Sunscreen or not, Buchholz is blocking out hitters' dangerous effects. He faces the Twins on Friday.


Felix Hernandez, Mariners
5-2, 1.53 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 64.2 innings pitched, 8.91 K/9
The King's velocity may be declining, but his level of dominance is up.