Friday, June 27, 2008


If there is any more misleading and deplorable statistic in the current era than "quality starts" I'd like to know what it is. Defined as a start in which the pitcher gives up three or less earned runs in six innings, the so-called quality start like many statistics needs serious scrutiny before being applied so freely.

Let's take Adam Eaton's latest effort, described as "solid" by the Inquirer and, of course, the Phillies own web site, and officially a "quality start" according to MLB. When a team has lost seven of its last eight games and has effectively and collectively stopped hitting it's hardly a quality start when their pitcher immediately puts them in a two run hole, even if he settles down and pitches effectively after that. A hole is a hole except when your team has spent the last two weeks in an offensive work stoppage. Then a hole is a crater. Imagine being a position player in yesterday's game. After Eaton surrendered a walk to the lead-off batter he gave up a double and a single and, bingo the score is 2-0 with nobody out and half the people in attendance still not in their seats. If you guessed more than one of those other eight guys dressed in Phillies uniforms muttered "here we go again" to himself you'd probably be correct regarding the sentiment if not the language.

That may have been a statistical quality start but it sure as hell wasn't one by any other standards.

Oh, and by the way, for a look at a quality start without the quotation marks just take a glance at the other team's dugout yesterday. Tim Harden threw a real one. Just ask the Phillies.


Rich said...

I'm offended that you called RICH Harden, "Tim Harden." Perhaps you were thinking of former Athletic Tim Hudson. The name Richard means "courage" by the way and Harden showed plenty of it striking out 11 Phils. Ugh.

Tom Goodman said...

WOW, "offended" is a pretty strong emotion for this minor peccadillo, but I will be especially careful in the future any time a player named Rich is involved.