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The Anatomy of Every Start – 2010

Posted by Raphy on November 21, 2010

During the 2010 season, starting pitchers took the mound 4860 times with varying degrees of success. Some were astounding and some were confounding. Some were unique and some unremarkable. Taken as whole, the starts of 2010 present us with an interesting and fun look at the season that was. They present us with an idea of what it took to win consistently as as big-league starter in 2010.

As I did last season, I am presenting each combination of innings pitched and runs allowed by starting pitchers in 2010. All this information was gathered simply by using the pitching game finder and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I have also added 2 new columns.  TRA refers to the average runs allowed by a team when their starter recorded that many innings and runs.  AGS is the average game score for those starts.

IP R Number Team W Team L Pitcher W Pitcher L Pitcher ND TRA AGS
9 0 63 61 2 59 0 4 0.03 86.24
9 1 38 37 1 35 0 3 1.03 78.82
9 2 14 10 4 10 2 2 2.14 72.07
9 3 8 8 0 8 0 0 3.00 70.88
9 4 2 2 0 2 0 0 4.00 56.50
9 6 1 0 1 0 1 0 6.00 47.00
8.2 0 3 3 0 3 0 0 0.00 85.67
8.2 2 2 2 0 2 0 0 2.00 75.50
8.2 3 2 2 0 2 0 0 3.00 60.50
8.1 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0.00 77.00
8.1 1 4 4 0 4 0 0 1.25 75.75
8.1 2 3 2 1 1 0 2 3.67 70.00
8.1 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 3.33 62.33
8.1 4 2 1 1 1 1 0 4.00 56.00
8.1 5 2 0 2 0 1 1 8.00 47.50
8 0 83 74 9 67 0 16 0.46 79.07
8 1 115 93 22 83 14 18 1.43 73.37
8 2 87 60 27 51 19 17 2.45 68.06
8 3 38 18 20 14 17 7 3.37 61.92
8 4 22 4 18 2 16 4 4.36 56.59
8 5 6 2 4 2 3 1 6.00 49.17
8 6 3 1 2 1 2 0 6.00 42.33
7.2 0 15 15 0 14 0 1 0.27 75.67
7.2 1 24 22 2 19 0 5 1.92 68.50
7.2 2 13 11 2 9 0 4 2.77 61.08
7.2 3 13 8 5 6 5 2 3.38 58.77
7.2 4 9 5 4 2 3 4 4.67 54.67
7.2 5 5 1 4 1 4 0 5.60 52.00
7.2 6 1 0 1 0 1 0 6.00 46.00
7.2 7 1 0 1 0 1 0 7.00 38.00
7.1 0 14 13 1 12 0 2 0.14 71.57
7.1 1 23 16 7 16 3 4 1.70 67.30
7.1 2 25 19 6 16 4 5 2.52 64.00
7.1 3 13 9 4 6 2 5 3.69 57.38
7.1 4 12 6 6 2 4 6 5.33 51.75
7.1 5 7 2 5 2 5 0 6.00 47.14
7.1 7 1 0 1 0 1 0 7.00 41.00
7 0 160 144 16 128 0 32 0.83 73.61
7 1 243 181 62 148 24 71 1.90 67.52
7 2 241 153 88 126 44 71 2.99 62.30
7 3 179 79 100 52 76 51 3.96 56.26
7 4 91 28 63 16 47 28 4.98 50.99
7 5 25 8 17 6 15 4 5.80 46.12
7 6 6 0 6 0 6 0 6.50 35.33
7 7 5 1 4 0 4 1 7.00 32.20
6.2 0 18 14 4 14 0 4 1.17 67.17
6.2 1 40 32 8 22 1 17 1.98 62.63
6.2 2 42 30 12 25 6 11 3.12 57.38
6.2 3 41 25 16 16 13 12 3.78 52.46
6.2 4 34 13 21 8 20 6 5.03 47.15
6.2 5 15 3 12 1 10 4 6.53 42.27
6.2 6 9 0 9 0 9 0 7.22 37.44
6.2 8 2 0 2 0 2 0 8.00 24.50
6.2 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 14.00 19.00
6.1 0 12 11 1 10 0 2 0.83 66.33
6.1 1 30 20 10 15 0 15 2.83 62.23
6.1 2 33 22 11 19 5 9 3.24 54.91
6.1 3 60 28 32 20 20 20 4.12 51.03
6.1 4 40 17 23 9 16 15 5.45 47.15
6.1 5 25 9 16 6 12 7 6.40 41.16
6.1 6 12 1 11 0 11 1 6.50 35.33
6.1 7 6 0 6 0 4 2 8.67 33.83
6.1 8 2 1 1 1 1 0 8.00 27.50
6 0 92 75 17 67 0 25 1.11 67.36
6 1 175 116 59 88 22 65 2.34 61.37
6 2 241 147 94 112 47 82 3.26 55.82
6 3 243 119 124 87 85 71 4.34 50.51
6 4 160 46 114 23 90 47 5.38 44.07
6 5 93 25 68 14 58 21 6.28 40.28
6 6 57 9 48 5 41 11 7.40 35.63
6 7 10 2 8 2 7 1 8.70 30.10
5.2 0 11 7 4 6 0 5 2.27 65.45
5.2 1 21 16 5 11 3 7 1.81 57.81
5.2 2 31 21 10 14 6 11 3.52 51.29
5.2 3 30 16 14 11 10 9 4.83 46.53
5.2 4 52 15 37 8 31 13 5.69 41.50
5.2 5 30 6 24 2 22 6 6.17 36.53
5.2 6 19 3 16 1 14 4 8.16 32.42
5.2 7 12 1 11 0 10 2 8.67 25.17
5.2 8 6 0 6 0 6 0 9.17 19.83
5.2 12 1 0 1 0 1 0 15.00 -3.00
5.1 0 5 5 0 5 0 0 1.00 60.20
5.1 1 19 16 3 10 1 8 2.63 57.16
5.1 2 38 26 12 17 5 16 3.63 50.95
5.1 3 33 16 17 12 8 13 4.76 44.79
5.1 4 42 10 32 8 27 7 5.29 40.10
5.1 5 34 11 23 5 19 10 6.76 35.15
5.1 6 24 5 19 0 17 7 7.63 29.29
5.1 7 10 0 10 0 9 1 8.60 22.40
5.1 8 5 0 5 0 5 0 9.60 17.40
5.1 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 10.00 19.00
5.1 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 10.00
5 0 26 18 8 14 0 12 1.38 61.58
5 1 60 45 15 36 5 19 2.47 56.32
5 2 79 50 29 29 13 37 3.87 51.03
5 3 105 41 64 24 39 42 5.01 44.36
5 4 113 39 74 19 58 36 5.91 39.50
5 5 87 23 64 8 48 31 6.90 34.97
5 6 55 6 49 1 45 9 8.29 29.36
5 7 24 1 23 0 21 3 8.46 26.54
5 8 10 1 9 0 9 1 10.20 22.40
5 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 9.00 19.00
5 11 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 0.00
5 13 1 0 1 0 1 0 15.00 -8.00
4.2 1 2 2 0 0 0 2 3.50 52.50
4.2 2 6 3 3 0 1 5 3.50 45.17
4.2 3 11 4 7 0 5 6 4.27 41.55
4.2 4 21 8 13 0 11 10 6.00 36.33
4.2 5 24 11 13 0 11 13 6.17 31.29
4.2 6 13 2 11 0 8 5 8.15 28.08
4.2 7 19 0 19 0 16 3 9.37 20.84
4.2 8 5 0 5 0 5 0 10.00 18.40
4.2 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 15.00 5.00
4.1 1 4 4 0 0 0 4 2.25 51.75
4.1 2 6 3 3 0 2 4 2.83 44.83
4.1 3 11 2 9 0 6 5 4.18 40.64
4.1 4 18 6 12 0 8 10 6.11 35.56
4.1 5 22 2 20 0 18 4 6.95 29.73
4.1 6 19 6 13 0 13 6 7.58 25.00
4.1 7 19 3 16 0 16 3 9.58 20.00
4.1 8 5 0 5 0 5 0 10.20 16.20
4.1 9 2 0 2 0 2 0 9.50 12.00
4.1 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 10.00 4.00
4 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0.00 51.00
4 1 10 6 4 0 1 9 3.90 52.10
4 2 13 4 9 0 4 9 5.15 45.23
4 3 13 6 7 0 5 8 5.23 40.31
4 4 23 6 17 0 15 8 6.09 33.57
4 5 47 8 39 0 35 12 7.43 29.74
4 6 35 2 33 0 30 5 8.66 24.94
4 7 26 1 25 0 23 3 11.35 18.62
4 8 12 0 12 0 12 0 11.58 12.67
4 9 4 0 4 0 3 1 10.75 10.50
4 10 2 0 2 0 2 0 11.00 11.00
3.2 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 2.00 50.00
3.2 3 7 2 5 0 3 4 6.71 41.00
3.2 4 4 1 3 0 2 2 6.00 33.00
3.2 5 15 1 14 0 13 2 7.07 30.13
3.2 6 12 1 11 0 11 1 9.00 22.58
3.2 7 5 0 5 0 5 0 8.40 19.80
3.2 8 2 0 2 0 2 0 9.50 17.00
3.2 9 8 0 8 0 8 0 11.00 9.25
3.2 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 4.00
3.1 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 2.00 54.50
3.1 2 2 1 1 0 0 2 6.00 40.50
3.1 3 2 1 1 0 1 1 6.00 35.00
3.1 4 5 1 4 0 3 2 6.40 33.40
3.1 5 4 1 3 0 3 1 7.75 26.00
3.1 6 9 2 7 0 6 3 8.89 22.11
3.1 7 11 2 9 0 9 2 8.27 15.73
3.1 8 11 0 11 0 11 0 11.18 13.73
3.1 9 4 0 4 0 4 0 11.00 8.25
3.1 10 4 0 4 0 4 0 12.75 3.25
3 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 2.50 58.00
3 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 7.00 51.00
3 2 7 4 3 0 3 4 4.57 44.86
3 3 5 4 1 0 1 4 5.00 35.80
3 4 16 9 7 0 7 9 6.13 31.56
3 5 21 1 20 0 16 5 7.57 26.10
3 6 13 3 10 0 9 4 8.69 22.15
3 7 9 0 9 0 6 3 9.78 17.44
3 8 12 1 11 0 11 1 10.67 11.58
3 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 9.00 3.00
3 11 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 -1.00
2.2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 3.00 54.00
2.2 3 2 1 1 0 1 1 7.00 37.50
2.2 4 3 0 3 0 2 1 7.00 29.33
2.2 5 2 0 2 0 2 0 5.00 20.50
2.2 6 6 0 6 0 5 1 8.33 21.00
2.2 7 7 0 7 0 6 1 9.57 14.86
2.2 8 7 0 7 0 6 1 11.14 11.43
2.2 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 -1.00
2.1 0 3 3 0 0 0 3 2.00 52.33
2.1 1 3 2 1 0 0 3 4.67 51.33
2.1 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 6.00 42.00
2.1 3 5 2 3 0 2 3 6.20 35.00
2.1 4 4 0 4 0 3 1 10.00 30.00
2.1 5 3 0 3 0 3 0 7.67 23.33
2.1 6 5 0 5 0 5 0 9.00 20.00
2.1 7 7 1 6 0 6 1 10.86 14.86
2.1 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 14.00 18.00
2.1 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 12.00 -5.00
2 0 2 0 2 0 0 2 7.50 55.50
2 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 11.00 48.00
2 2 4 2 2 0 1 3 7.25 41.75
2 4 3 1 2 0 2 1 9.33 30.33
2 5 7 1 6 0 6 1 8.71 27.71
2 6 5 0 5 0 5 0 9.80 18.80
2 7 6 0 6 0 4 2 9.33 14.00
2 8 1 1 0 0 0 1 10.00 8.00
2 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 16.00 2.00
1.2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1.00 55.00
1.2 2 2 1 1 0 0 2 4.50 38.50
1.2 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 5.00 27.00
1.2 6 7 2 5 0 4 3 9.57 21.00
1.2 7 5 2 3 0 3 2 9.00 12.00
1.2 8 3 1 2 0 2 1 10.00 8.67
1.2 9 2 0 2 0 2 0 14.50 3.50
1.1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 5.00 54.00
1.1 4 4 1 3 0 2 2 9.25 29.25
1.1 5 2 0 2 0 2 0 11.50 23.00
1.1 6 2 0 2 0 2 0 10.00 16.00
1.1 7 3 0 3 0 2 1 10.67 13.00
1.1 8 4 0 4 0 4 0 12.75 5.50
1 0 3 2 1 0 0 3 4.00 50.33
1 3 2 0 2 0 2 0 8.00 34.50
1 4 2 0 2 0 2 0 7.50 26.50
1 5 3 0 3 0 2 1 9.33 20.33
1 6 2 0 2 0 1 1 10.00 17.50
1 7 3 0 3 0 3 0 9.33 11.00
1 9 1 0 1 0 1 0 12.00 -1.00
0.2 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 2.00 44.00
0.2 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 5.00 40.00
0.2 3 1 0 1 0 1 0 7.00 36.00
0.2 5 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 20.00
0.1 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 8.00 38.00
0.1 6 1 0 1 0 1 0 9.00 14.00
0.1 7 1 0 1 0 1 0 15.00 9.00
0 0 2 1 1 0 0 2 5.00 49.50
0 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 10.00 39.00
0 3 1 0 1 0 1 0 6.00 33.00
0 5 2 0 2 0 2 0 7.50 20.50
0 7 1 0 1 0 1 0 11.00 13.00

Here are all the starts sorted by Game Score. Once again, for the sake of clarity have included all game scores between the year's lowest and highest even if they weren't registered in 2010.

Game Score Games Team W Team L Pitcher W Pitcher L Pitcher ND
-8 1 0 1 0 1 0
-7 0 0 0 0 0 0
-6 0 0 0 0 0 0
-5 1 0 1 0 1 0
-4 0 0 0 0 0 0
-3 1 0 1 0 1 0
-2 1 0 1 0 1 0
-1 4 0 4 0 4 0
0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 3 0 3 0 3 0
3 6 0 6 0 6 0
4 3 0 3 0 3 0
5 6 0 6 0 6 0
6 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 5 1 4 0 3 2
8 4 1 3 0 3 1
9 8 1 7 0 7 1
10 9 0 9 0 8 1
11 14 0 14 0 13 1
12 18 1 17 0 16 2
13 15 2 13 0 12 3
14 20 4 16 0 15 5
15 20 0 20 0 19 1
16 23 2 21 0 18 5
17 17 1 16 0 15 2
18 25 0 25 0 23 2
19 24 3 21 0 20 4
20 36 2 34 0 32 4
21 21 0 21 0 20 1
22 27 3 24 0 24 3
23 36 0 36 0 30 6
24 38 3 35 0 31 7
25 28 6 22 0 18 10
26 44 9 35 0 32 12
27 35 7 28 0 27 8
28 48 8 40 2 36 10
29 48 4 44 0 39 9
30 53 10 43 2 37 14
31 38 7 31 2 26 10
32 53 13 40 2 33 18
33 53 15 38 5 34 14
34 79 19 60 4 50 25
35 63 17 46 7 40 16
36 69 25 44 9 36 24
37 61 16 45 2 36 23
38 74 18 56 6 40 28
39 96 29 67 15 52 29
40 82 23 59 12 44 26
41 72 21 51 12 42 18
42 85 23 62 12 49 24
43 88 34 54 11 43 34
44 85 34 51 22 41 22
45 84 36 48 20 36 28
46 105 45 60 29 43 33
47 87 34 53 20 38 29
48 91 31 60 20 41 30
49 117 53 64 34 47 36
50 104 53 51 32 30 42
51 104 58 46 41 32 31
52 129 75 54 39 35 55
53 107 57 50 41 36 30
54 112 72 40 50 26 36
55 108 64 44 48 22 38
56 110 61 49 45 25 40
57 124 73 51 52 30 42
58 100 57 43 37 18 45
59 126 73 53 53 27 46
60 110 76 34 59 21 30
61 104 60 44 44 25 35
62 94 67 27 50 13 31
63 97 72 25 59 13 25
64 88 60 28 50 15 23
65 104 67 37 59 22 23
66 119 92 27 75 11 33
67 84 63 21 55 6 23
68 88 59 29 54 11 23
69 85 59 26 51 9 25
70 65 52 13 46 4 15
71 68 58 10 53 2 13
72 71 57 14 51 5 15
73 49 39 10 33 7 9
74 58 48 10 38 4 16
75 40 35 5 28 2 10
76 43 35 8 33 3 7
77 32 31 1 29 0 3
78 28 23 5 22 3 3
79 34 29 5 28 0 6
80 21 21 0 21 0 0
81 19 19 0 16 0 3
82 24 23 1 21 0 3
83 12 11 1 11 0 1
84 19 17 2 16 0 3
85 9 8 1 7 0 2
86 8 8 0 6 0 2
87 7 7 0 7 0 0
88 10 10 0 9 0 1
89 3 3 0 3 0 0
90 4 4 0 3 0 1
91 5 5 0 5 0 0
92 3 3 0 3 0 0
93 3 2 1 2 0 1
94 1 1 0 1 0 0
95 0 0 0 0 0 0
96 0 0 0 0 0 0
97 0 0 0 0 0 0
98 1 1 0 1 0 0
99 0 0 0 0 0 0
100 1 1 0 1 0 0

There's a lot of information here  and not many links. However, any games that pique your interest can easily be found with the "Player Pitching Game Finder."  I look forward to reading your observations, discoveries and insights.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 21st, 2010 at 8:41 pm and is filed under Data Dump, Game Finders, Stats. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “The Anatomy of Every Start – 2010”

  1. I've always cringed at the (over)use of the "quality start" stat. When did that start? Does many of us consider 3ER in 6IP a "quality start? I do not. Always seemed like kind of a "break even" start to me.

    To me "quality start" means to gave your team a 60% chance to win. 60% is playoffs, usually. Anywho....

    The data seem to validate this. In 6IP 3ER starts, teams went 119-124.

    Win %s at 3ER:
    9 100%
    8.2 100%
    8.1 67%
    8 47%
    7.2 62%
    7.1 69%
    7 44%
    6.2 61%
    6.1 47%
    6 49%

    Notice the dips in win % at the 7 and 8 inning marks? Is this because when the starter leaves late, mid-inning we're more likely to see a closer or stopper, thereby increasing the chances of a hold and win from pressure situations (runners on base)?

    But mainly - If you want a quality start, it's gotta be 7IP/3ER at least, or 6IP, 2ER. Starters who gave up 2ER delivered their teams decisive advantages at every inning mark after 5IP. THAT'S a quality start.

  2. Who was the pitcher who posted the GS of 100?

  3. Most common result: a tie between 1 run in 7 innings and 3 runs in 6 innings, both occurring 243 times, barely beating out 2 runs in 7 innings and 2 runs in 6 innings, each of which happened 241 times.

    Two starters were lifted with zero IP and no runs allowed - I assume these were injuries?

    Two starters with a game score of 7 managed to escape with a no decision. One pitcher with a game score of 93 was saddled with a no decision.

    Every game score below 50 leads to a losing team record; every game score 50 or better leads to a winning team record.

  4. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I guessed that the no decision with the 93 game score, which would also be the Team L for that game score, was Travis Wood of Cincinnati against the Phillies on July 10. I looked up the box score for that game, and that was indeed the 93 game score.

    One of the two no decisions with a game score of 85 was Roy Halladay in the same game.

  5. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    Putting the comments of Zack and Gerry together, except for 54 every GS below 60 results in a 60% or lower team winning percentage, and except for 61, every GS above 60 results in a 60% or higher team winning percentage, Zack's criteria for a quality start.

    In fact, if you plot the team winning percentage against GS, it is quite linear (r=0.967) and the game score is not a bad proxy for estimating the team's probability of winning (mean error = -0.386% and sd_error = 10.1%)

  6. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    It would be interesting to see how each team's average Game score compares to their winning percentage.

  7. I took the game score for each of King Felix's games. From the chart above I the number of pitcher wins and losses at each game score divided by the number of games with that game score. This gives me a fractional win and loss for each start. His added up to 18.73 W - 7.37 L. fwiw.

  8. From the chart above I took...

  9. Pitch counts would be an interesting addition to that chart.

  10. Good list Raphy,

    Who the heck had a (-8) & a (-5) game score? I didn't think that was possible.

    Someone pitched 9 innings and gave up 6 runs?

    I was kind of surprised to see that teams only won 18/20 when a starter pitched 8 innings and gave up 3 runs.

  11. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Zach {@1}

    I was under the impression that a uality Start reuired that a pitcher limit the opponents to 3 runs -- earned OR unearned -- in a start of six or more innings. Is that right, or is my PMS {Pre-Mature Senility} kicking in again?

  12. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    And, excuse the missing "Q"s there -- my great-granddaughter was eating pop tarts at my computer again.

  13. It really underscores how bad of a metric Wins truly is (as if we didn't already know that).

    Pitchers that went 6IP and gave up 2R won 35 fewer games than their teams (147 to 112). Teams manage to win these games 60% of the time, but starters only get the win 46% of the time.

    It's just about as bad for pitchers that go 7IP and give up 1R (-33 wins).

    In fact, pitchers that go at least 7IP and give up 3 or fewer Rs win 154 fewer games than their teams win. Hurlers who pitch 8 full innings still win 9% fewer games than their teams (76% to 67%).

    Bottom line--you've got to get into the 9th. Pitchers that managed to pitch into the 9th only won 6 fewer games (n=142, 94% team wins, 89% pitcher wins).

    Here's the standard deviation of win differentials between pitchers and teams for >=7IP and <=3R:

    9IP: 1.15
    8IP-8.2IP: 3.93
    7IP-7.2IP: 12.35

  14. 3 wins for teams with Game Score under 10. 6 losses for teams with game score over 80.
    I love baseball.

  15. Raphy officially has my favorite avatar.

  16. @12/13 - Frank - it's earned runs, for quality start purposes.

    @6 - good stuff. Clearly, a TRULY quality start (I like GS, too) has a massive impact on team success (wins), but that start must be a little better than 6IP/3ER.

    In fact, giving up 3 runs in 6 or MORE innings left teams just 298-302 overall. 6+ innings w/ 2 runs give up - 456-245. That's a .651 win %. THAT is a quality start. Six or more innings, two or fewer runs.

    Anyway, great lists. Fun to think about.

  17. Johnny Twisto Says:

    In fact, giving up 3 runs in 6 or MORE innings left teams just 298-302 overall.

    This was so surprising to me I had to check it myself, and you are correct. I would have thought the record was better than that. Here's an odd thing: Over 40% of those starts were exactly 6 IP, 3 R, and the teams' record in those games is 119-124. So in all the games of more than 6 IP, 3 R, the record is barely better, 179-178. I would have thought there would be a much bigger spread.

  18. Johnny Twisto Says:

    So if it's allowing 2 runs or fewer which defines a good start, three AL pitchers did it 20 times this season: Felix, CJ Wilson, and Jon Lester. Of course, even among those 20 games is quite a difference in performance: Felix averaged 8 IP with an ERA under 1.00; Wilson under 7 IP with an ERA of 1.51. Price did it 18 times, Sabathia 16.

    In the NL, Mat Latos, Tim Hudson, and Tommy Hanson each had 23 such starts, with similar composite numbers. Somehow Hanson won only 9 of those games. Jimenez had 21. Halladay 19.

    (I set no IP minimum on this search.)

  19. @1 -- "Do[] many of us consider 3ER in 6IP a 'quality start'? I do not."

    Well hey, it's the Straw-Man "Critique" of the Quality Start! Haven't heard that one in a few days. Welcome back!

    It's "attacking a straw man" because you've set up the minimum requirements of the Quality Start as representing the entire category. You then condemn the category because those minimums aren't impressive.

    But at least we can trust you to be consistent, right? So, you must not put any stock in starting pitchers' wins, since those can be "earned" with just 5 IP and any number of runs allowed.

    For anyone who still doubts the merits of the Quality Start but retains an open mind, consider this:

    In 2010 (as usual), the average Quality Start featured more innings and a better ERA than the average SP Win.
    -- Quality Start average: 6.89 IP, 1.98 ERA.
    -- SP Win average: 6.78 IP, 2.00 ERA.

    Quality Start has the further advantage of being independent of what the pitcher's teammates do at the plate and what his relievers do after he leaves.

  20. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I checked a few days ago, I think teams won two-thirds of the time they got a quality start.

    But John, if a reliever allows inherited runs, those would be charged to the SP, and could change a QS into a non-QS.

  21. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Also, if the pitcher's team isn't hitting, perhaps he is more likely to be pinch hit for in the top of the 6th inning, before he can reach the QS threshold. So it's not completely independent.

  22. @21-22, JT --

    Re: relievers, I was referring to relievers "blowing the win"; for that purpose, I don't care if it's inherited runners or the reliever's runners who score.

    And sure, your 2nd point is true, but that's a much smaller set than the "wins" and "losses" that accrue to SPs primarily because of the team's batting performance.

    Bottom line: Quality Start is not 100% independent of the team's supporting performance, but it's FAR more independent than SP W's and L's.

  23. JT @21,

    A "Quality Start" is not (should not be) "official" until the starter's record is complete for any given game. So a pitcher could be "in line" for a QS and not get it, but he cannot have a QS and lose it due to the reliever's performance.

    Sorry about all of the quotation marks, but since it is an unofficial stat, nothing is concrete (I guess that would apply to your comment as well, so my point is pretty moot).

  24. @20 - But that was my point - perhaps I wasn't specific enough. I am attacking the minimums and not merely the concept of a "quality start" statistic. I think the stat is interesting, partly for the reason you cited (independence of team). It's the 3ER threshold that is my concern.

    @21 - Yes - Quality starts earned a 1687-768 record.

  25. @25 --
    [in my best Emily Littella voice]:
    "Oh! ... Never mind!"

    I am guilty of starting my tirade before reading to the end of your post. My apologies.

    Moving on....

    Your data table is interesting, but I don't think you said what year(s) it covers. If it's 2010 only, my check of the Play Index gives different results than yours. For example, in 2010, the team W% in a start of exactly 7 IP and 3 ER was 40% (not 44%), based on a record of 70-105. The team W% in a start of 6.2 IP and 3 ER was 57%, not 60%, based on a record of 24-18.

    More to the point, though, the confounding downturn in W% from 6.2 to 7 IP should tell us that something is fundamentally wrong with the team-W% method of analyzing pitcher starts. There's no logical reason to say that a pitcher who allowed 3 ER in 7 IP did a worse job than one who allowed 3 ER in 6.2 IP -- but that's exactly what the team-W% method would say. Therefore, the method is suspect at best.

  26. Following up on #1 and 27 -- The mystery of why teams win substantially more in a start of 6.2 IP and 3 ER than a start of 7 IP and 3 ER is going to drive me nuts until I can understand it. Can anyone explain it? It holds true during the entire steroids era, even when the leagues are measured separately.

    AL teams, 1993-2010:
    -- 6.2 IP & 3 ER, .562 W% (241-188).
    -- 7 IP & 3 ER, .510 W% (659-634).

    NL teams, 1993-2010:
    -- 6.2 IP & 3 ER, .556 W% (195-156).
    -- 7 IP & 3 ER, .496 W% (754-766).

    But if I look back to the 20 years from 1973-92 (post-DH, pre-steroids), the AL numbers look more rational:
    -- 6.2 IP & 3 ER, .474 W% (200-222).
    -- 7 IP & 3 ER, .539 W% (479-410).

    So what is it about the current era that makes 6.2 IP & 3 ER look better than 7 IP & 3 ER?

    One last table, including 6.1 IP & 3 ER:
    1993-2010, both leagues:
    -- 6.1 IP & 3 ER, .510 W% (397-382).
    -- 6.2 IP & 3 ER, .559 W% (436-344).
    -- 7 IP & 3 ER, .502 W% (1413-1400).

    Can someone make sense of this? Please?

  27. @17-18 --
    I am getting different numbers from the Play Index than you gents reported:

    -- For IP>=6, ER=3, I'm getting a record of 264-303 (.466).
    -- For IP=6, ER=3, I'm getting 98-122 (.445).
    -- For IP>=6.1, ER=3, I'm getting 166-181 (.478).

    Considering these discrepancies and my previous posts, I'm wondering if (hoping that?) the Play Index is malfunctioning.