I really wasn't prepared to be cheering for a 'pitching and defense' team this year. I figure that, like last year, I'd be cheering for a team that scored a ton of runs and were kind of average on the pitching side. I'm not really build for 1-0 or 3-2 games. I enjoy the 11-7 games much more.
Right now, our starters have the best ERA in the American League (let's not talk about the relievers for a few minutes). As a group the starters have a 3.13 ERA (the White Sox come next at 3.45) Yeah our FIP is down at 5th in the league, which is a little worrisome. The rotation, that I hoped would be somewhere around league average, is leading the league in quality starts, getting a quality start in 72% of games (again the next best is the Chicago at 66%).
Our starters are 15-7, despite the fact that the offense seems to have given up hitting for lent (and no one told them lent is over).
We are also at the top of the league in innings pitched per game by starters at 6.5 (some of that might be Gibby's, understandable, reluctance to go to the pen. Gibby does seem to try not to have the starters throw a ton of pitches in two starts in a row, but, very understandably, he is trying to get as much out of his starters as he can. When he left Marco Estrada in for 118 pitches, on April 27, he pulled Marco at 88 pitches in his next start.
Another thing that we are topping the leagues starters at is ground ball percentage (51.3%) which, with our infield defense,normally is a good thing. Yesterday was a bit of an outlier, normally our infield defense is pretty amazing, yesterday it was terrible.
We are also at the top of league in home runs allowed. We are tied with the Orioles starters at .81 home runs per 9 innings. And we are at the top of the league in BABIP for starters, at .269, brought on my all the ground balls, he says hoping it isn't luck that will turn around on us.
Our starters are also at the top of the league in leaving runners on base, our starters strand 76.5% of base runners (again, let's not talk about the relievers).
I was wondering where we would be if our starters were the average group I was expecting. Right now we have a 18-18 record. That's a fair bit worse than our Pythagorean record of 20-16, brought on, in part, by our 3-8 record in 1-run games.
Where would we be if our starting pitches was more like the league average that I was expecting. Let's take some wild guesses. The Orioles starters are 7th, in the AL, in ERA, at 4.28. If you asked me, before the season started, I'd say our starting pitchers would be little better than the O's. If we had a 4.00 ERA and our starters had pitched the same 233 innings, they would have allowed 23 more earned runs. That would change their Pythagorean record to 17.6-18.4, so roughly 18-18, which just happens to be our real record....there was a few minutes wasted. Of course, we would likely still be having the same bad luck in one run games.
We seem to have 4 starters battling it out to be our favorite. Stroman, Happ, Sanchez and Estrada have all been great. Someone on twitter told me that J.A. Happ was our number one starter, I said I thought we had 4 number one starters. So let's have a poll.