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Quality Quality Starts
2003-04-12 11:52
by Jon Weisman

Okay, I do have to add this:

As Jim Tracy and the media keep pointing out, the Dodgers have had only two games in which they did not have a quality start.

However, if the Dodgers keeping focusing on how many quality starts they've been getting, they're not going to go anywhere.

Somehow, someone years ago defined a "quality start" as allowing three runs or less while pitching six innings or more.

A quality start happens to be exactly what Odalis Perez did Friday night against the Giants: six innings, three runs.

That's a 4.50 ERA. That's not good enough against the Giants in their home stadium, a pitcher's paradise.

Perez is a fine pitcher, but allowing three runs in six innings is no better than a 1-for-4 at the plate. And when Perez gave up a two-run single to fortysomething Andres Gallaraga with the score tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the sixth, that's just like a hitter striking out with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers spent time in first place last season because Perez, and Hideo Nomo, and even Omar Daal, stepped up and gave more than a quality start. They gave what you might call a quality quality start - they would go out there, pitch seven or more innings and allow one run or fewer.

This year, Perez, Kazuhisa Ishii and Darren Dreifort have been mediocre starting pitchers. They have been better than most of the Dodger hitters, but their losses can be attributed to their own pitching as well as the lack of run support.

Twice this week, the Dodger pitching staff was given three-run leads by its hitters. That's enough for a win. Both times, the staff blew the leads.

Pitching is clearly the Dodger strength. But let's not allow some phony measuring device like quality starts to give the pitchers more credit than they deserve or excuse them from trying to do better.

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