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Backtalkers unite against the common enemy! ;-D

I’m not gonna sit here and research the entire league to discover who has a better rotation of starting pitchers. You wanna make a point here, you do it. I made mine, and I did my research. The idea that Cain is the best rookie pitcher in baseball is laughable. He is nowhere near as polished as Jered Weaver or Francisco Liriano, just to name two rookie pitchers who do the one thing that matters more than anything else -strike guys out while not walking them- better than Cain.

Are we now going to conclude that this 15 game stretch is the true indicator of who these pitchers really are, or that the body of work they produced over the first 100 games was? I mean, what the hell are we talking about here? They just posted a 2.34 ERA over the last two weeks?! That’s why they’re the best in baseball?

A quick look at ESPN’s statistics index……

OK, the Giants starters have the second best ERA in all of baseball. Excellent. They have the second best OPS allowed, which is also excellent.

A good question would be why they’re starters have a 46 and 46 record? I’ll tell you why I think so. They rank 12th in strikeouts, which is not so excellent. They have allowed the fourth highest total of walks, which is bad, and the combination of the two means that they rank 22nd in strikeouts to walks ratio. The best starters in the league, the Twins, have a 3.31 K/BB ratio. The Giants are about half that, (1.76). They rank 18th in strikeouts per 9 innings, and again, I’ll remind you that strikeouts are the single most important thing a pitcher can do to prevent runs from scoring. The Giants starters have a defense independent score (DIPS) of 106, which I believe means that the Giants defense, (led by Vizquel) pushes their ERA 6% lower than it would be with a league-average defense; which is just a different way of saying that, because they strike out so few batters, they rely more on their defense to get outs than a team like, say, the Twins or the Tigers.

Seems to me that this puts more pressure on the team behind them, and watching them these last couple of years, we can all remember many, many games that were lost because of a bloop hit, or a long at-bat that, instead of ending in a strikeout, ended in a walk that extended the inning, resulting in a loss.

Two of these guys are fairly advanced in their careers (Schmidt and Morris), meaning that they are way more likely to be worse next season than to be better. Hennessey is a 26-year old with 37 strikeouts in 83 innings, who just now finally got out of the minors. Lowry has alternated between very good, very bad and injured for two years now. Cain looks like a star, sure. He’s really young (21), has 144 strikeouts in 150 innings, and seems to flirt with a no-hitter every three or four starts. Fine.

I’m not saying they’re the worst group in the league. But I’m not gonna concede that they’re among the best, either. The Twins, the White Sox and the Tigers are in a class by themselves. The young rotations that impress would be the Brewers, Rockies, and maybe the Reds. The established rotations that are expected to lead their teams to the promised land include the Yankees, the Mets (when healthy), the Astros and perhaps the Red Sox, (mostly because of Schilling, really). I’d say the Giants rotation falls somewhere in this list. Good, solid, sure. Electric, dominating, best in baseball? No chance. The best starting rotation in baseball would have to belong to the Twins.


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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