Through ten complete turns of the starting rotation the Cardinals pitching staff has been excellent. For two months the threesome of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn has acquitted itself quite well. Shelby Miller has struggled. Joe Kelly and Tyler Lyons have performed well as fifth starters. Now, Jaime Garcia is back, and the early returns have been excellent.
Today, for our ten-turn checkup on the starting rotation we will focus in on two pitchers, Miller and Garcia.
Miller has gradually improved as the season has gone along. Slowly his WHIP has gradually dropped from 1.68 after his first two starts to a low of 1.39 after ten starts. As has been repeated in this space many times Miller is a very talented pitcher. That does not change, however, the fact that right now, after he has started ten games, the Cardinals are simply receiving very little production from his spot in the rotation.
- Three starters in the major leagues have a worse strikeout to walk ratio than Miller’s 1.50.
- Miller’s homeruns allowed per nine innings of 1.43 is the seventh worst in baseball.
- Even with the improvement Miller’s 1.39 WHIP puts him the bottom twenty of starting pitchers.
- His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of -0.5 is tied with Edinson Volquez for the worst of any starter.
- He leads the majors with an average of 4.76 walks per nine innings.
- A Fielding Independent Pitching number of 5.22 is the sixth worst number in baseball.
In short, talented pitcher or no, as of ten starts Shelby Miller is performing as one of the worst starters in all of baseball.
Jaime Garcia’s long odyssey back to the starting rotation left most of us trying to remember just what kind of a pitcher he was. Clearly two starts does not make a season, but the early returns are promising. Two starts do not tell us much, but it would be much better to have two good starts than two bad starts. So just how well has Garcia pitched?
- He’s averaging six plus innings a start
- His WHIP is 0.87
- He actually does not have a strikeouts to walks ratio because he has not walked any batters while striking out twelve.
- The one statistical blight for Garcia is a home run per nine innings of 1.420. His career rate is 0.69 so two solo home runs in his first start in over a year may not be something worth freaking out about.
Can Garcia keep it up? Only time will tell. He probably will not pitch this well for the entire season, but if he can continue to provide quality starts this team will be much more likely to contend for a title.