It’s time for another quality-start update. Only this time, we’re going to look at the Cubs’ quality starts since July 1, and I think you’ll find the numbers interesting.
I started keeping a log of quality starts last year, just to see if it was a “legit” stat. I had heard it derided as, “Yeah, all you need to do is pitch 6 innings and give up 3 earned runs, and that’s a 4.50 ERA.”
People who use that argument don’t finish it, though. The 6-inning, 3-run thing is only the minimum requirement for a quality start. If a guy pitches 8 shutout innings, that’s still a quality start, and his ERA for that game is 0.00. Most quality starts for most teams are better than the 4.50 ERA minimum, and so it goes for the Cubs. They have 66 quality starts this year. The team’s record in those games is 43-23 and the cumulative ERA is 2.23. Pretty good. And if you don’t like quality starts, you might know that the Cubs are 11 games under .500, at 14-25, when they don’t get one.
The numbers are even more impressive for the Cubs’ starters since July 1. In that time, the Cubs have gotten 19 quality starts. The team’s record in those games is 17-2, and the ERA of the starters in quality-start games since July 1 is 1.93.
In this period, they’ve had only 3 starts of the minimum kind: Carlos Zambrano’s July 12 start, Randy Wells’ July 24 start and Kevin Hart’s July 30 start. Maybe the Cubs didn’t like that one, because they traded Hart right after the game.
Here is the breakdown of quality starts among Cubs pitchers since July 1:
Rich Harden: 3
Ryan Dempster: 2
Ted Lilly: 2
Tom Gorzelanny: 1
Harden goes tonight for the Cubs in the series finale at Cincy. We’ll see if they bring Aaron Miles off the DL.
In the minors last night:
--Geovany Soto went 1-for-3 with a homer for Class AA Tennessee on his rehab assignment. He’ll join the team in Colorado over the weekend. In that Tennessee game, Tyler Colvin tripled to extend his hitting streak to eight games, including that 11-for-11 tear over the weekend. Colvin his hitting .286 with an OPS of .805. Hot shortstop prospect Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 in his Double-A debut. He also made an error, something he’ll have to work on.
--At Class A Peoria, this year’s No. 1 pick, Brett Jackson, went 3-for-6 with his first homer in a 14-inning victory. Another kid to watch on that team is reliever Chris Huseby, whom farm director Oneri Fleita calls the best “strike-thrower” in the system. Huseby, a member of Tim Wilken’s 2006 draft class, worked 2 scoreless innings for the win. In 43 innings this year, he has walked just seven and struck out 58. Starting last night’s game was Chris Archer, one of the three pitchers the Cubs got for Mark DeRosa. Archer went 6 innings, giving up 3 hits and no runs. He’s got a 2.82 ERA.
--If you missed one of yesterday’s blogs, third-base prospect Josh Vitters has been out of Daytona’s games for about a week with a left-hand injury. Oneri tells me it’s not serious and that Vitters should be back in a couple days.