This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of August, as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here. I wrote on this last season and compiled their stats on a regular basis and I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this).
This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).
Basically, you want to see a pitcher's DOM% to be over 40% and ideally over 50%, and you want their DIS to be under 20% and ideally under 10%. For example, Johan Santana has a 76% DOM and 3% DIS in 2006 (2.77 ERA), whereas Orlando Hernandez had a 52% DOM and 28% DIS (4.66 ERA), and Adam Eaton had a 31% DOM and 31% DIS (5.12 ERA). See my explanation down below on methodology plus read the link, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and particularly how low DIS% is so important.
Giants Starters' PQS for 2007 Season (as of August 31, 2007)
Matt Cain - (56% DOM, 19% DIS; 15:5/27): 4, 3, 5, 3, 3, 0, 3, 5, 5, 4, 4, 2, 5, 4, 1, 5, 3, 1, 0, 0, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4, 3, 5
Kevin Correia - (67% DOM, 33% DIS; 2:1/3): 0, 4, 4
Tim Lincecum - (71% DOM, 19% DIS; 15:4/21): 0, 5, 5, 4, 5, 3, 0, 0, 0, 5, 5, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 4, 5, 4
Noah Lowry - (31% DOM, 19% DIS; 8:5/26): 5, 3, 4, 2, 2, 5, 3, 3, 3, 0, 3, 2, 4, 0, 2, 5, 4, 1, 4, 4, 2, 0, 2, 2, 3, 0
Pat Misch - (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/2): 3, 3
Matt Morris - ( 29% DOM, 19% DIS; 6:4/21): 3, 1, 4, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 3, 5, 4, 0, 2, 2, 3, 0, 0, 4, 4 (traded)
Russ Ortiz - ( 13% DOM, 25% DIS; 1:2/8): 2, 4, 2, 2, 0, 2, 3, 0 (DL: Tommy John)
Barry Zito - ( 33% DOM, 22% DIS; 9:6/27): 2, 3, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 0, 3, 5, 4, 0, 3, 0, 3, 3, 0, 5, 2, 0, 3, 0, 4, 5, 4, 5
Giants season overall - 41% DOM, 20% DIS out of 135 games pitched (56:27/135)
Giants Month of April - 29% DOM, 4% DIS out of 24 games pitched (7:1/24)
Giants Month of May - 43% DOM, 18% DIS out of 28 games pitched (12:5/28)
Giants Month of June - 33% DOM, 30% DIS out of 28 games pitched (9:8/27)
Giants Month of July - 48% DOM, 32% DIS out of 25 games pitched (12:8/25)
Giants Month of August - 52% DOM, 16% DIS out of 25 games pitched (16:5/31)
After doing pretty well in April and May, then declining greatly in June and having a pretty mixed month of July, the Giants pitchers turned things around in August, on a collective level. Lincecum continued to dominate with 5 DOM starts while Cain turned himself around with 5 DOM starts and Zito ended the month with 4 himself, but Lowry continued a downturn that begun in July, having two disaster starts in August, his first poor August in his career. Apparently that injury he suffered affected him more than he thought it would, as he was totally hot until that happened.
Misch, Ortiz, and Correia started as well during the month. Correia had 2 DOM starts out of 3, and if he didn't get an automatic zero PQS for having under 5 IP in his first start - the Giants limited his innings since it was his first start in two years - he would have gotten a DOM for that start as well, it would have rated a 4 PQS had he gotten two more outs. Misch had too nice starts that could have been 4 PQS games had he gone 1 IP more in each start, his only blemish otherwise was giving up too many hits, but his BABIP probably is way over as he struck out a good number in those two games. Ortiz pitched poorly and we found out why: his arm was failing him and he now needs to get Tommy John surgery; I'm not sure what his future with our team is, but he's clearly not pitching until the 2009 season at the earliest now, as the recovery time for that surgery is at least one year, sometimes more.
A DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.
If you had to chose a high DOM% or a low DIS%, pitchers tend to have a lower ERA when you have a low DIS% vs. a high DOM% (obviously if you combine both, you have a much better chance of having an elite pitcher). That's how Lowry was able to pitch well last year, keeping his ERA low while still recovering from his strained oblique and being unable to strike out hitters as much as before, he had very few disaster starts until he had his arm problems and got bombed in September, he had a good ERA, in the high 3's until those starts.
The Giants was 16-15 in August and should have been way better. With a 52% DOM for the month, and conceivably another 10% in DOM had the pitchers' pitch count (since they were used mainly as relievers before) caused them to be removed, the Giants should have won a lot more games than they did. The offense let them down again, as it has much of this season.
The staff was led by Lincecum and Cain, who had identical 83%DOM/0%DIS. Misch and Correia, as noted, contributed nicely to the rotation. Zito, after having a very poor stretch that had begun in July, suddenly figured things out and had four straight DOM start, doing things that he either hadn't done since he started his career or since early in this career. His walk rate went from unmanageable and too high, to 3 consecutive games with 2 or less, one with zero walks. Lowry and Ortiz were the two strugglers, though as we learned, Ortiz had serious arm problems that were yet to be revealed.
Pitching Rotation Suddenly Overflowing
Cain and Lincecum are clearly our future and Zito is starting to earn his huge contract: if they are all on in 2008, they could be the best 3-some in all of baseball, and could have a nice stretch together from 2008-2011. Lowry had pitched well enough to be in the top 20-29 in ERA in the NL from 2005-2007, which makes him #2 worthy in the NL, and he could be our #4 pitcher in 2008. Misch, Correia, and Sanchez have all put in great starts (Sanchez did his on Sept. 1st) and if they can all continue to hurl good starts, we could have 7 capable starters for 2008 when we only need 5.
This is when the pitching focused strategy starts to pay off, allowing the Giants to consider trading off one or two out of Lowry, Sanchez, Misch, and Correia, to get young position players who could be part of our core from 2008 on. Each year will bring more opportunities to trade off pitchers to get position players. It was rumored that the Mets was willing to trade Carlos Gomez, a young speedster for the Mets, straight up for Sanchez. The emergence of Misch and Correia as viable back of rotation starters, where teams don't really need even journeyman-like performance, makes Lowry and Sanchez expendable for the right price.
And that's what a lot of impatient Giants fans have not been getting, that we need to wait for the right package. We don't want to trade off Lowry or Sanchez just for any old position prospects, they are very good pitchers and we should get the right value for them. Just because the Giants probably won't compete next year mean that you go out and trade off pitching just for the heck of it.
Look at the Brewers, don't you think that they are going to be dying for starting pitching for next season, particularly with Sheets frequently injured (and DLed) again this season. Maybe they'll be willing to trade off one of their good position player (or two) in order to get a great #2 starter like Lowry. Lowry is now an established starter with good to great performances all through his career. That should be worth at least two good position prospects - guys with potential - versus getting a known hitter. So maybe the Mets would give up Gomez and Milledge for Lowry, just for a thought, one who had done well in his limited time up (Gomez) plus one who has great potential, but not capturing it in the majors.
And if no one bites, then we have a great rotation overall, plus the flowover will make the bullpen that much better, and better in 2008 than 2007. Quality pitching will raise the bar for our pitchers, improve how they perform in 2008 versus 2007 collectively. And that will improve the team, even if the offense probably sucks again in 2008.
Rebuilding not only takes time, but it takes patience so that you don't throw away any advantage you have - as the Giants do in starting pitching right now - by just doing a knee jerk reaction just to do something, show something to the impatient fans. You don't build championship teams by always reacting to fan sentiment for action. Stupid trades can hurt more than not making a trade, which is something some fans forget. It is like trying to catch one of the huge fishes of the sea, you don't reel him in immediately when you feel the tug, you have to work it in order to catch the fish, else you risk losing it, you must exercise patience, knowing that it is just part of the process towards your ultimate goal.