The term “quality start” is often a somewhat debated one, as it’s often the case that a starting pitcher can fulfill all of the requirements (six IP, three or less earned runs) without actually throwing a quality outing, and there are plenty of quality outings that don’t necessarily qualify as a quality start.
Still, it’s rather hard to argue with the median there, and that’s more or less where Minnesota Twins‘ Scott Diamond has been riding for much of the 2013 season since his unremarkable delayed debut (four runs, 4.1 IP).
Four starts. Three wins, one loss — it hasn’t always been ‘easy’ for the hurler from Guelph, Ontario, but all of his four starts since his first falls under the category of a quality start, a run that is reflective of both a little bit of luck (he did give up 12 hits in one outing) and a whole lot of consistency.
That is, until he took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, and had arguably his first truly bad game this season.
Unlike the quality start, there aren’t exactly strict guidelines as to what makes a start just plain bad instead of say, mediocre; but whatever it is, Diamond hit all of the requisite categories in the Twins’ 6-0 loss. He was far too hittable (nine hits over 5.2 innings), inefficient (needed 100 pitches to face 27 hitters) and did not have good command (season-high four walks … though one was intentional).
Aside from that trifecta of pitching woes, however, what hurt the lefty the most on Sunday was the long ball.
Three of them, to be exact. His first inning home run given up to slugger Chris Davis set the tone for the Twins’ day, and Diamond never really recovered, giving up runs in all but one of his innings, with Adam Jones (also understandable) and Steve Pearce (okay, less acceptable) both going yard off the 26-year-old.
So yeah, not too much was going right for Diamond on this afternoon.
Despite his run of quality starts coming to an end at four, though, Diamond has shown that the success he had as a 2.2 fWAR pitcher in 2012 was not fluke. His pitch-to-contact control game (1.53 BB/9 after this game) is going to lead to results like this once in a while, but as long as he can keep the contact weak (15.8 percent line drives headed into play on Sunday), chances are pretty good that he’ll be starting a new streak sooner rather than later.