Bird’s House: What’s a quality start? The O’s don’t know either…

Written by on April 23, 2014 in Orioles, Sports - No comments

Quality Start – quali-i-ty-start – kwa-le-te start:

Definition: A quality start is a baseball statistic for a starting pitcher defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs.

Example–The Atlanta Braves rotation really knows how to pitch well; they are tied for the Major League lead with 15 quality starts in only 18 games played.

Another example–The Baltimore Orioles pitching staff is terrible; they have only five quality starts in 17 games.

Yup, that’s true.

While Arizona is dead last with three, Baltimore has the second lowest total of quality starts with five. Pretty terrible.

Another scary statistic: The O’s pitching staff as a whole has hitters batting .276 against them, also second worst, this time to the Philadelphia Phillies who are getting hammered at a .285 clip.

There are 13 pitchers who have four quality starts so far this year. Thirteen.

A few names—Felix Hernandez and Andrew Cashner–sound like they belong in that group, but even Aaron Harang has 4 quality starts.

Aaron Harang! Something isn’t right here.

Chris Tillman leads the team with two quality starts and has been solid all year, pitching to a 1.71 ERA. Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez have one quality start each this year, and if you do the math, that means Ubaldo Jimenez has zero. Yes, the Ubaldo Jimenez who signed that nice four-year deal this offseason has yet to make a quality start in 2014.

Here are some numbers that might make you throw up in your mouth just a little. Miguel Gonzalez will be earning $529,000 this year. Chris Tillman will make $546,000 this year. Wei-Yin Chen will make $4.072 million this year and Bud Norris will earn $5.3 million this year.

If you add those four pitchers’ salaries up, you get $10,447,000, or about $803,000 LESS than what Ubaldo Jimenez is making this year. That’s right, Jimenez makes more than the other four pitchers COMBINED, yet he doesn’t even have a quality start.

Currently the O’s are in last place at 8-9 but are only two games behind the first place New York Yankees.

Despite the O’s pitching woes, things could be a lot worse. Let’s just hope they get on track and can figure things out sooner rather than later, so their two game deficit doesn’t become more.

by Andy Mindzak
birds@baltimoreguide.com

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