5th Starter expectations and MIcah Owings

There have been articles in the past at places like The Hardball Times  breaking down pitching numbers by the "number" of the starter.   I think that Jim even covered this as well a year or two ago.  The gist of this work usually shows that number 4 and number 5 starters, in aggregate usually have much higher ERA's than most people realize.  We usually have unrealistically high expectations for the guy(s) at the very back of the rotation compared to what is average in MLB.  Of course if a team is fortunate to have a deep rotation and has a pitcher or group of pitchers that are much better than what the league avg. is out of the 5th spot in the rotation, then it;s a big advantage and probably worth quite a few wins per season.

Unfortunately......that has not been the case for the D Backs this year, as the Chart  below shows 

Zach Duke 2 4 9 51 72 31 31 4 11 26 5.47 .336 1.627
Armando Galarraga 3 4 8 42.67 47 36 28 13 22 28 5.91 .281 1.617
Barry Enright 1 4 7 37.67 50 31 31 11 15 21 7.41 .325 1.726
Micah Owings 3 0 4 20.33 19 9 8 3 6 10 3.54 .250 1.230
Jason Marquis 0 1 3 11.33 22 16 12 3 4 5 9.53 .386 2.295
Wade Miley 0 1 1 4 7 5 5 1 2 5 11.25 .368 2.250
9 14 32 167 217 128 115 35 60 95 6.20 1.659


As you can see I left Collmenter off this list. I am actually calling him the 4th starter for the purpose of this exercise.  I realize he is really the 5th starter, and all the guys above were mostly the 4th starters. But thats just too depressing.

Anyway, I digress. 

Small sample size be damned. With all the unmitigated suck we have had at the back of the rotation from the guys above, why did Owings not get more chances to start ?. The above numbers are in Starts only. They do not include any relief appearances.   WITH Owings numbers included the ERA is 6.20, and the WHIP is 1.66.  Remove  Owings ERA and WHIP and it jumps to 6.57  ERA and 1.718 WHIP.  It's one thing for us fans to have unrealistic expectations about what you can get out of a 5th starter.  But the team should know better.  Owings was pulled from rotation too quick and they have made a mistake not going back to him.

 Even if  "all we get" out of Owings is 5+ innings and a  4.00-4.50 ERA per start going forward, it's STILL better than what everyone else has done. 

Has the obvious answer been under their noses all along ?  I know there are a number of people that don't think Owings can go through the order 3 times with his stuff. But he's done better than all the other options. I say just put him in the rotation till the end of the year. 

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