This article is part of our The Z Files series.
It's cliché but the axiom, "bully hitting, manage pitching" holds true even as other aspects of the game change. When micro-managing the hitting categories, at-bats are paramount. If allowed by the rules, playing favorable matchups is important. However, especially once injuries kick in, thinning reserves and the available pool in general limits the upgrade between players for the fringe active roster spots. Perhaps better said, the weekly hitting upgrade incurred isn't as significant as managing the pitching side of the ledger where two-start weeks make a huge difference, along with the ability to use a dominant middle reliever in lieu of a one-start arm with a poor matchup.
So, instead of presenting quarterly stats like last week, today's discussion will focus on managing ratios, looking at what it takes to make a serious move in ERA and WHIP. Long-time readers know this is a personal crusade, as many feel the accumulation of innings stifles movement in the ratio categories.
We happen to be at the three-quarter pole, facilitating the math. I'll show my work with ERA, the same conclusion can be drawn doing the analogous exercise with WHIP.
Let's use a 0.05 difference in ERA. Regardless of what your current mark is, to drop it by .05, your pitching needs to be 0.2 better, assuming a similar pacing