“...the game is still wins and losses. The Pirates led the league in ERA in 1989 or around there. They finished last. I guarantee you those pitchers would have rather had wins. You don't send a pitcher out to the mound and say 'get a good ERA.' You want him to win games. A good ERA might come with wins, but the wins and losses are the most important. If you had a guy with a .001 ERA but never won a game and another guy had a 3.5 ERA and won 25 games, who would you give the award to? Wins and losses is the column that matters most.”

We’d like to submit Danny Haren’s early 2007 stats for review, just for kicks. Haren is 0-2, with a ERA after two games. He’s given up one earned run in thirteen innings, and for the A’s, has done everything possible for them to win his first two starts, well, except win.

Call us crazy, but I think Haren’s ERA might be better indicator of how he’s pitched so far this season than his win total. We can draw the obvious comparison to another starter we’re familiar with, who is also 0-2 in this early season, and if we’re going to cherry-pick a small sample size, who better to compare than Oakland’s aces? Barry Zito is also 0-2, with an 8.18 in eleven innings, or in other words, 10 earned runs in those 11 innings. Who was the better pitcher in those two games? Haren, and it’s not even close.

We think Joe Morgan might have it backwards. A good ERA doesn’t necessarily come with wins; wins come with a good ERA/WHIP, and good offensive production from your team. Good pitchers will sometimes lose a 1-0 game (Hi, Roger Clemens!), and it doesn’t make them a bad pitcher, or ‘not a winner’. It means the pitcher they faced had a better day, or the pitcher had all the run support of the A’s offense so far. And let’s be honest; Haren, as the new A’s #1, went up against Felix Hernandez and John Lackey. I daresay that his opponents might have had to more to do with his record than does his ‘inability to win’.

However, on the bright side, Harden may steal some wins simply by being the early number three starter, and not facing the caliber of pitchers that Haren will. Of course, with off-days and such, this advantage will be gone in a couple of weeks, but the opportunity is there for Harden, who is thinly disguised as a number three starter. Either way, these two pitchers for the A’s are sure going to be fun to watch!

By SFist Christy