This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of April 2008, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here. I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so 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 2008 Season (as of April 30, 2008)
Matt Cain - (43% DOM, 29% DIS; 3:2/7): 3, 0, 4, 0, 5, 2, 4
Kevin Correia - (75% DOM, 25% DIS; 3:1/4): 4, 4, 4, 1 (did not count start where injured)
Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (80% DOM, 0% DIS; 4:0/5): 4, 5, 4, 4, 3 (didn't count relief outing as start)
Pat Misch - (50% DOM, 50% DIS; 1:1/2): 4, 0 (counted relief after Zito since 6 IP)
Jonathan Sanchez - (33% DOM, 17% DIS; 2:1/6): 0, 5, 2, 3, 5, 3
Barry Zito - ( 0% DOM, 67% DIS; 0:4/6): 1, 1, 3, 3, 0, 0
Giants season overall - 43% DOM, 30% DIS out of 30 games pitched (13:9/30)
Giants Month of April - 43% DOM, 30% DIS out of 30 games pitched (13:9/30)
First, some procedural notes. I didn't count Lincecum's relief session as a start, nor did I count it as a start for Valdez, in the D-gers game. I also didn't count Correia's injury start where he only pitched a third of an inning. However, I did count Misch's first outing, in relief of Zito, as a start because he went 6 innings and I felt he deserved it.
The Giants starters had as good a DOM as they did last season, but much worse DIS. But, obviously, that was due to Barry Zito's implosion as a starter this season. Without him, the team would be 54% DOM, 21% DIS, which would be pretty good as a whole (see below for "What's Good and What's Not").
As expected, The Kid lead the way with four dominating starts in 5 starts in April. And Lincecum just missed by one strikeout from a fifth dominating start (or one less hit given up). Tied for second with three dominating starts were Cain and Correia. Correia was arguably the second most valuable starting pitcher, with 75% DOM and Cain inconsistent, alternating good starts with not as good starts. Sanchez had the two DOM starts, but what great starts they were, they were on par with what Lincecum can do on his best starts. So the potential is there for the four of them to all start clicking together and the Giants would regularly put together streaks where they win 8 or 9 of 10, but given the inconsistencies, we see what we are currently seeing.
What's Good and What's Not
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. Thus what Correia has done so far in limited starts is startingly good, that's why he is now in the mix for the #5 starting position for the 2008 season, as Sabean had noted in one of his post-season talks, along with Sanchez, who previously was the favorite for that spot; now it's a competition.
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.
I was going to post separate on the team but will just do it here. The pitching was outstanding outside of Zito. If Zito would have been even half decent, the Giants might have made .500 in April. As it was, they were 13-16 and not anywhere near as bad record-wise as many of the naysayers have been saying.
And this was with a number of players not doing what they are capable of, starting with Zito, but also Cain was not pitching like he is capable of. Sanchez and Correia has pitched about what could be expected, and Lincecum, well, we can just smile about that, can't we?
In addition, the offense has been hampered by a wide variety of problems. The older guys, Aurilia and Durham not hitting all that well. Winn too, who is also getting on the older side. Worse of all was Roberts until he was mercifully DLed and operated on. You can't have lead off hitters hitting .285 OPS. Add to that Rowand getting and playing hurt and not hitting all that well for a couple of weeks, plus Bocock doing about as well offensively as could be expected for someone who could not even be average in Advanced A last season, and Castillo being a poor substitute for Pedro Feliz, a sadder statement that couldn't be made, that is a whole lot of offensive badness.
It has been offset by great play by Fred Lewis and some good play from Velez and Bowker, Bowker mainly in his first week, though he appears to heat up a little in Philly in May. Ortmeier has also done OK in limited play and appears to have heated up once he stopped switch-hitting and only bat right-handed. Meanwhile, Molina, who missed games with injuries, Rowand, and Aurilia appears to have heated up in recent May games.
So the Giants were near .500 with a hampered offense that appears to be better now (they are 13-10 in games that Roberts didn't play in) and a starting rotation that looks to get better overall now that Zito is held out until he gets better and, haven't mentioned the stellar bullpen so far, which has helped the team greatly and look to continue to do well going forward.
I think sunnier days are ahead for the Giants from May on.