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Diamondbacks Starting Pitching Notes

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Diving into Baseball Reference Starting Pitcher Pages

New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Baseball-Reference.com has a lot of interesting pages and tables linked throughout their website. From time to time I will highlight some of their pages and the stats they contain. Today’s focus is on starting pitching. First here are the links to the specific pages I’m referencing today.

NL Starting Pitching Page

Diamondbacks Starting Pitching Page

Navigation Note: If you want to know how to navigate to these pages yourself directly, go to the BR home page on your laptop, then near top center of the page you can choose MLB Summary, AL Summary, or NL Summary. Choose NL Summary for today. Then simply mouse over where you see “Pitching” in the top bar, and from the drop down select Starting Pitching. Once there, clicking on column headers will sort for you. If you navigate yourself, the column header sorting function works. But if you are lazy and just follow my link, then clicking on column header won’t sort it for.

If you go the Diamondbacks Team page, which you get to by clicking on team name in the standings section of BR home page, and then mouse over Pitching in the top bar, select “Detailed Stats” from the drop down menu. That will take you This page. From there you just scroll down to the section you are looking for.

It’s more cumbersome to search on your phone. But if you motivated you can figure it out there too. Let me know if you need any help.

So below are a few things that interest me from the Starting Pitching page. Please let us know in the comments anything else interesting you find there or any questions you have.

IP/GS

The DBacks actually ranked 4th in this average a month or so ago, but there have been a lot of shorter outings by starting pitchers over the last month and they have dropped to the middle of the pack in SP length.

No Decisions:

It make sense that Milwaukee would have the most ND because of the way they use their starters. Interesting that despite being middle of the pack in IP/GS DBacks have 2nd fewest ND. Zack Greinke had the most ND with 9, Robbie Ray with 8 comes in 2nd. Taylor Clarke is 3rd with 6, despite just 13 GS overall

Cheap Wins and Tough Losses

BR defines a “Cheap Win” as less than 6 IP and more than 3 ER allowed. i.e. a win in a Non Quality Start. Tough losses are the opposite, simply a loss in a quality start.

The Diamondbacks are tied with Milwaukee for the lead in Cheap Wins with 17, but ALSO lead the NL in Tough Losses with 12. Yes, this team drives us batty. By the way, the DBacks 43% Quality Start percentage is right at NL Average.

On the player level for the Dbacks, Ray has the most Cheap Wins with 6, and Ray is tied with Merrill Kelly and Luke Weaver with 3 Tough Losses a piece.

A few other notes: By now you have figured out how to navigate yourself or follow the links at the beginning of the article. So I’ll just comment on some of the things I see without the pretty pictures, so the article doesn’t load too slow for those using their phones. ;)

Average Game Score:

(explanation of Game Score Here) The DBacks 52 Avg Game Score is middle of the back, ranking 6th, and 1 above the NL Avg of 51. However it’s notable that the single best game score a DBacks pitcher has recorded this year is 79, and that’s the 14th best out of 15 for NL Teams. On the other hand, their worst game score of 15 is the 3rd best among the worst games. In other words, they haven’t had the dominant starts that other teams have had, but they also haven’t had the type of disaster starts that the teams at the bottom of that table have had either.

The DBacks two 79’s were recorded by Merrill Kelly April 7th vs. Boston and Zack Greinke April 25th vs. Pittsburgh. Bot Kelly and Greinke also have the next best game scores with 78

The worst game score of the year belongs to Mike Leake, just this past Sunday vs. the Dodgers. So that’s uh....not good.

Bequeathed Runners:

DBacks starters have the 2nd fewest bequeathed or inherited runners scored in the NL with 35. Only Miami has fewer with 32. This despite being right at league average in the number of runners bequeathed to the bullpen. The DBacks pen has done a good job of shutting down innings the starters leave with runners on base. (It’s the subsequent bullpen innings they get into trouble sometimes...thats for another day)

In Particular, Merrill Kelly owes his pen a beer. He’s left 12 runners out there for relievers and none of them have scored.

Run Support

They show two kinds of Run Support measurements:

RS/GS is the runs scored per 27 outs in the entire game when the pitcher started.

RS/IP is the runs scored per 27 outs while the pitcher was in the game as the pitcher

As a team, DBacks starters have enjoyed the 4th best RS/G in the NL with 5.2, (Dodgers lead with 5.6). And in RS/IP they rank 1st, with 4.9

There is some nuance here. The DBacks offense proportionately is scoring runs at a faster rate per 27 outs when the starter is in the game, but are not giving their relievers the same level of support, relative to the rest of the league. This goes back to the offense under performing in high leverage situations late in games, leaving the bullpen hanging out to dry. (I know the last time I said that, the pen went into an immediate slump. Such is the nature of regression)

I hope this wasn’t too boring. I’ll dive into relief pitching, base running, situational hitting, and other areas over the next few weeks and months. I know for some this is not that interesting, but sometimes these little nuggets can help tell the story of the team and will dovetail with impressions we have. Other times it will totally contradict what we think, in which case it would deserve more study to see what’s really going on.