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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

20!
It had never really occurred to me that I would see a 20-game winner for the Angels in my lifetime. Now, pitcher wins don't mean a lot to me, as they depend to such a large degree on the team and not the pitcher, but it's still pretty cool to have your ace take the league lead and hit a big milestone.

How many of Bartolo's wins have been undeserved, and how many games should he have won that he did not? To answer this question, I looked at all of his starts in a few categories ... you have your Quality Start, where a pitcher goes at least six innings and gives up no more than three runs. The minimum qualification for that would be a 4.50 ERA, but the typical Quality Start is actually better than that; in a strict sense, pitching six innings and allowing three runs is sufficient to keep your team in the game, so that's something.

I believe Bill James is the one that came up with the following, but if a guy has a QS and gets a loss, that's a Tough Loss, and if he doesn't meet the minimum and gets a win, that's a Cheap Win. I'm going to go ahead and also devise a Tough No Decision and a Cheap No Decision, the meaning of which you can likely figure out.

I'll also take a look at Superlative Starts, which I just made up, where a pitcher goes at least 7 innings and gives up no more than 2 runs.

Here we go:
    GS  QS  TL  CW  TND  CND  SS 
Tot 31 21 3 1 14
W 20 16 4 9
L 7 2 2 2
So, reading that ... Bartolo has started 31 games, going 20-7. 21 of those starts are Quality Starts, and in those he's gone 16-2. Both of those losses obviously qualify as Tough Losses. He has three Quality Starts in which he didn't get a decision, and his other no-decision came on a game where he allowed only two runs in five innings, and he was pulled due to a rain delay.

It's particularly interesting that both of Colon's Tough Losses and all three of his Tough No Decisions came in what I called Superlative Starts. That's a real testament to the Angel offense. Here are those starts:
Date   Opp   IP  ER  Dec
4/15 @Oak 7.0 1 W
4/20 Cle 8.0 0 W
5/01 @Min 7.3 0 W
5/07 Det 9.0 2 L
5/18 @Cle 8.0 1 W
5/24 ChW 7.0 1 -
6/15 Was 9.0 1 L
7/27 @Tor 7.0 2 -
8/02 Bal 7.0 1 W
8/07 Tam 7.0 2 W
8/13 @Sea 8.0 1 W
8/24 @Bal 8.7 1 W
8/30 Oak 9.3 1 -
9/20 Tex 7.0 0 W
Total: 109.3 14 9-2 ERA: 1.15
In addition to his 16 Quality Start wins, he has 4 Cheap Wins; I don't know that any of them are really egregious, maybe two are close. On May 29, against the Royals, Bartolo had only allowed two runs through seven innings, but gave up two runs in the eighth. In his next start, in Fenway, he did struggle, allowing five runs in six innings but still getting the win. On July 21, against the Yankees, he allowed three runs through six, but two in the seventh -- the Angels bailed him out by plating four in the bottom of the inning. And on September 4, against Seattle, Bartolo allowed only two through five, getting pulled due to his back.

Basically, Bartolo is easily deserving of his twenty wins. I'm not going to take a position on him vis-a-vis the Cy Young until the season is over, but after a disastrous start last year, Colon has come a long way to make his contract look pretty damn worthwhile.

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