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Inside the Numbers: Livan's quality starts

There has been much discussion of Livan Hernandez's declining stats.  (Aaron Gleeman's post was as good as anyone's.)  But of course, you can't throw an entire season's worth of pitches in one game, so I thought it might be nice to look at quality starts for Hernandez over the past couple of years.

A quality start is defined, traditionally, as one with 6+ innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs.  Bill James, in his creation of "game score" as a statistic, defines it instead as a start with a game score of 50 or over.  I've included both below, with QS using the traditional definition and QSgs using game score.

Here's Hernandez's numbers for the past ten years:

Year    GS    QS   QSgs  Avggs  NM
1998    33    16    16    48    2
1999    30    14    13    48    2
2000    33    21    18    53    3
2001    34    12    13    45    1
2002    33    19    17    49    2
2003    33    22    21    57    1
2004    35    20    22    56    1
2005    35    22    22    51    3
2006    34    19    12    47    7
2007    33    19    14    44    5

"NM" stands for "near-misses"; these are the games that qualified as quality starts by the traditional definition, but had a game score in the 40s.  I speculate that the increase in this is due to the decrease in Hernandez's strikeout rate.  (In the game score calculation, a strikeout counts as 2 or 2.667 points, depending on the inning; a regular ho-hum out counts as 1 or 1.667.)

By way of comparison, roughly half the starts in the league in any given season will have a game score of 50 or above.  Slightly fewer - in 2007, between 47 and 48 percent in both leagues - will fit the traditional definition of a quality start.

Throughout his career, Hernandez's ability to slog through six innings while giving up three or fewer runs has been relatively constant. This is not to say, though, that he has not experienced a decline since 2005; every stat shows that he has. You can see from the Average Game Score column that the average Hernandez start has become less and less dominating.

Do these numbers make Hernandez look better or worse to you?  Or is it all just statistical foofaraw?