Chacin went 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA in July and the Venezuelan leads all rookies
in wins (11), ERA (3.28) and innings pitched (129). His ERA ranks fifth and
his win total sits tied for sixth in the American League as a whole.
"I was talking to [Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi], and I said 'I
wish you could come watch him throw a bullpen. You could see how diligent he
is with his work, because he's a perfectionist,'" said Toronto pitching
coach Brad Arnsberg. "He does everything you'd look for in a Major League
The left-hander is currently riding a 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak.
"All my pitches are working good. I'm throwing a lot of strikes and have a
good tempo. I feel comfortable," Chacin said on Sunday.
On Sunday, Chacin tied a career high with six strikeouts and he allowed no
earned runs in 6 1/3 innings against a strong Texas lineup. One start earlier, he combined with Jays closer Miguel Batista to shut out the Angels.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was impressed with what he saw.
"That guy pitched a terrific game," Scioscia said on July 26. "Anytime we had a count in our favor or had a chance to do something, he came up with a great pitch. He reminds me a little of a
combination of Teddy Higuera and Fernando Valenzuela. There are a lot of
intangibles he has on the mound, just from a first glance."
On the top shelf of his locker in the Toronto clubhouse sit his awards for
the 2004 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honor and the Rookie of the
Month for April.
Chacin went 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA to win the monthly award in April.
Some of his teammates feel that a Rookie of the Year Award could be next.
"I think so," said Vernon Wells, Toronto's center fielder. "He just has to
continue what he's doing -- throw strikes, make guys swing the bat and just
go out there and give us quality innings any time he can. And he's been
doing that for us."
The rookie's showing in July came at the right time for Toronto. Roy
Halladay, the AL's ERA leader, and Ted Lilly were sidelined with injuries
this month and Chacin has been one of the main reasons that the Jays haven't
collapsed in the process.
"[Chacin] has been great for us, especially with [Halladay] going down,"
Wells said. "He's pretty much stepped right into that role and been a
stopper when he's pitched for us. It's been a good month for him and a good
month for the team."
Oakland rookies Dan Johnson (.364, four home runs, 12 RBIs), Nick Swisher
(.278, six homers, 21 RBIs) and closer Huston Street (2-0, 1.20 ERA, five
saves) all finished behind Chacin for the award.
"He's pitched so [well] for us this year," Gibbons said on July 2. "Before
it's all said and done, he's going to be a good one."