Revisting the Strength of Opponents Starters

It has been about six weeks since I last looked at how solid (or not) the starting pitching that Pirates have faced has been overall. It is time for an update.

The conclusion I came to after looking at this before was that the Pirates hadn’t faced a bunch of great starting pitching as much as the Pirates just hadn’t been hitting. The recent hot streak from the bats has turned that upside down. From the previous post (with data through May), the average NL starter pitching against anyone other than Pittsburgh had an ERA of 4.01. The average ERA of the starters tossing against the Buccos was (independent of their starts against the Pirates) 3.74. But while facing the Pirates those starters posted an exceptional ERA of 2.94.

The table below includes data up through the All-Star break. I took out the inter-league data and looked only at the data for NL pitchers who tossed against the Pirates. Through the All-Star break, the average NL starter pitching against anyone other than Pittsburgh had an ERA of 4.00 (versus 4.01 through May). The average ERA of the starter tossing against the Pirates was (independent of their starts against the Pirates) 3.78. And after the outstanding performance by the offense, the collective ERA of those starters facing the Pirates is 4.01 (4.02 if you throw in the AL starters).

Group ERA BB/9 K/9 K/BB WHIP
Average NL Starter 4.00 2.8 7.3 2.57 1.294
Average NL Starter minus starts made vs. Pittsburgh 4.00 2.9 7.2 2.52 1.299
Starters Opposing Pittsburgh 2012 total stats 3.80 2.7 7.4 2.77 1.264
Starters Opposing Pittsburgh minus stats against Pittsburgh 3.78 2.7 7.4 2.72 1.268
Starters Opposing Pittsburgh in games against Pittsburgh only 4.01 2.2 8.2 3.65 1.203

That is nothing short of astounding to me. Count me as someone who didn’t think the offense would get in gear the way they have in the last several weeks. It is a pleasant surprise and I hope that they are able to maintain something close to league average performance in scoring runs the rest of the way.

Some other data that I thought was interesting. Opposing starters by month with their collective ERA for the full season (in other words – starters from April and their ERA for every month, not just April) against all opponents, including the Pirates. This includes the AL and NL starters.
April – 3.81 ERA
May – 3.64 ERA
June – 4.30 ERA

So, it looks like overall the Pirates faced a slightly lower caliber of starter in June than in other months.

How did the starters do month-by-month against the Pirates? This data is only in games against Pittsburgh.
April – 2.67 ERA
May – 3.15 ERA
June – 5.35 ERA

After struggling badly against starting pitching that was slightly better than league average in April and May, the Pirates tattooed the slightly weaker than league average pitching they faced in June.

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