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Preview #121: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Houston Astros

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We reach the three-quarters point of the season this morning in Houston.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS HOUSTON ASTROS
David Peralta - RF George Springer - RF
A.J. Pollock - CF Alex Bregman - SS
Jake Lamb - 3B Jose Altuve - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Yulieski Gurriel - 1B
J.D. Martinez - DH Marwin Gonzalez - LF
Daniel Descalso - 2B Carlos Beltran - DH
Ketel Marte - SS J.D. Davis - 3B
Chris Herrmann - LF Max Stassi - C
Jeff Mathis - C Jake Marisnick - CF
Patrick Corbin - LHP Mike Fiers - RHP

If it seems like Patrick Corbin has either been great or terrible in his starts for the Diamondbacks this year, there’s some evidence to back this up. Corbin has made three starts where he has not allowed an earned run this season. That’s the same number as Zack Greinke, and two more than Taijuan Walker. But until Anthony Banda got lit up by the Astros on Tuesday, Patrick was also the only Diamondback to have allowed seven-plus earned runs in a game. Corbin has had three such starts. [Sidenote: That puts him alongside 60% of the Giants’ rotation. Matt Cain, Jeff Samardzija and Ty Blach have also had three such meltdowns].

Needless to say, that isn’t good. The number of earned runs allowed by a pitcher has a very strong impact on the chances of his team winning the game. Here’s how things have broken down in that department across the National League so far in 2017.

  • 7+ earned runs allowed: 3-99 (2.9%)
  • 6 earned runs allowed: 12-71 (14.5%)
  • 5 earned runs allowed: 30-122 (19.7%)
  • 4 earned runs allowed: 75-146 (33.9%)
  • 3 earned runs allowed: 149-178 (45.6%)
  • 2 earned runs allowed: 203-148 (57.8%)
  • 1 earned run allowed: 243-96 (71.7%)
  • 0 earned runs allowed: 180-41 (81.4%)

Random thoughts. I know you want to know: the worst start this year by a pitcher in a game his team won, belongs to the Braves’ Mike Foltynewicz. He allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 innings on June 12, against the Nationals. But Atlanta scored five over the final two frames, to win 11-10. [And the all-time NL record is 12] I was quite surprised to see how low the break-even point is: as soon as a starter allows a third earned run, your team’s chance of victory drops to less than 50-50. And also unexpected: even if your starter doesn’t allow an earned run at all, you’ll still lose close to one in five contests. Hopefully, Corbin will be at the bottom end of the above chart today.