TwinsFix, Fanatic Jack Talks Twins, Twinkie Town, Twins Geek, among others, are not shy about heaping praise on him. And it's well deserved; he is a good pitcher. A very good pitcher.
He does a lot of things well. I, for one, think he's the best option for a "big game." (Remember game 163 last season? He was awesome.) But I'm certain the one thing about Blackie that makes Bert happy is how far into ball games Nick goes. I bet it makes the bullpen pitchers happy too.
On his first start of the season, he pitched 5.0 innings (that's typical for the first game), and since then, he's gone less than that only once -- everyone has a bad day. But Nick doesn't have very many. Of his 17 performances, 13 of them are "quality starts" (at least 6 innings and 3 or fewer earned runs), and his last nine consecutive games are QSs.
He blows the other starters away in total innings pitched, but he's also leads the staff in innings per game. Look at this little chart I wrote up: (Yes, I did math and everything! Don't worry, I didn't hurt myself.)
Innings per Game
But not only that, he doesn't give up very many runs -- he sports a sexy 2.94 ERA and a nifty 7 - 4 record.
So, yes, I'm convinced Bert Blyleven adores Nick Blackburn. I know I do.