Thoughts about our National Pastime and occasional thoughts for the Good and Welfare of the Reader (and maybe the writer)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The 6-inning Start

Lead sentence from Halladay threw six sharp innings in a 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Lead sentence from the Chicago Tribune: Koji Uehara solid in 6 innings

From Jimenez pleased with scoreless 6 innings

In an article published on line by that goes back 1o 1992, David W. Smith wrote, "The quality start is a relatively new statistic devised by sportswriter John Lowe in an attempt to evaluate the performance of starting pitchers in terms other than the traditional values of ERA and wins and losses. A starting pitcher is credited with a quality start if he pitches at least six innings and allows three or fewer earned runs."

I cannot accept that getting two-thirds of the job done is a quality start. Follow the math and let me know if I am wrong, a pitcher starts 32 games, pitches 6 innings in each game and gives up 3 runs in each game. In giving up those 3runs, let us postulate that he walks 4, strikes out 4 and gives up five hits, one of which is home run in each game. Understand, I am making up those numbers, but they are within the realm of reason because they emulate what a line score would be if 3 runs scored – 3-5-0 – and that looks reasonable to me.

He has pitched 192 innings which is not bad, but if you define Paul Byrd and Kyle Lohse as quality, that is what they turned in last year.

His ERA is 4.50 and that is not a quality ERA. I lose interest in a pitcher when the 3.50 line is crossed.

His WHIP is an astronomical 9.00. Even if he walks no one, in a statistical world that venerates the sub 1.00 WHIP and assigns the word to quality to 1.5 and below, a WHIP that hits 5.00 is sub standard.

My definition of a quality start is 7 innings, allowing the same 3 or fewer earned runs.


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