Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday's was likely the best start Carl Pavano will have all year. It was hardly his first, or only strong outing.
One of the frequent rationales offered for signing a veteran starter is that he serves as a mentor to the younger pitchers. True or not, it has to be said that Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn have not improved with Pavano as a teammate, and in some ways appear to have regressed.
But Pavano is earning his keep on the days he starts. I don't have a serious problem with the "quality start" stat, but I have a slightly stricter standard for it in my mind -- six or more innings pitched with a game ERA under 4. (Six innings with three earned runs is a "quality start" by the conventional standard; my standard requires six inning of two earned runs or seven innings of three.)
By either standard, Pavano has racked up 10 quality starts in 14 tries. That's a very solid performance. Only seven American League pitchers have more conventional QS than Pavano.
He's fifth in the league this morning in innings pitched and sixth in WHIP -- Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched --largely because he walks about one man per nine innings. The strikeout rate is unimpressive but acceptable, and he's been vulnerable to the home run (11 so far).
He's had two lousy starts, two mediocre starts (if eight innings and four runs is mediocre) and, obviously 10 good ones. Not an ace, but a good starting pitcher.
And, given that I haven't shaved my upper lip since May 1975, I can't even beef about his moustache.