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Jose Contreras owns a 10 game win streak, Royals

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With a dominating performance over the Royals, Jose Contreras became the second White Sox pitcher in as many years to post a personal 10-game winning streak. Kansas City sent only 28 men to the plate, just one over the minimum, as Contreras allowed a solitary double to Grudz for the Royals only hit.

It's hard to explain to those who haven't seen him every start just how dominant Contreras has been since the calendar changed to August last year, so I'll just let the numbers do the talking.

IP H R ER HR BB K ERA K/BB Post 7/05 100 79 26 21 4 23 73 1.89 3.17 Pre 8/05 367 329 209 194 55 170 314 4.76 1.85
Jose's K/9 has dropped by about one, but I suspect that his K per batter faced (which would be much harder to find/calculate) is about the same. The rest of his numbers have gotten much better. Most notably, he's cut his walk rate in half while simultaneously slashing his HR rate.

A casual observer might take a look at Jose's incredible HR/9 over his last 100 innings and say he's due for a regression. And they'd be right, to a point. He is likely to give up more than 4 HRs in his next 100 innings pitched, but I'd argue that Contreras is better suited to limit that regression than most.

Back when he was allowing over 1 HR/9, Contreras was also walking a lot of batters and pitching from behind in the count. It was a vicious cycle. He'd try to be careful, walk a batter, try to be careful, fall behind in the count, give up a HR, try to be careful, rinse, repeat. The more he tried not to give up HRs, the more often he did just that. It was the type of frustrating performances that had me calling for him to be "punched in the face."

Contreras has the pure stuff such that when he does attack hitters, he can get away with the occasional pitch over the heart of the plate. It's really only when he starts falling behind batters that he gets himself in trouble. And he doesn't fall behind too often anymore.

We've come a long way since that day back in July. I started calling him "our best pitcher" during the second half last year. He won 3 post-season games and provided my favorite Rooney call of all-time. Now, he's signed a 3-year extension, calling the White Sox his family, and appears to be poised to continue his run of dominance.

Welcome to the family, Jose.