Should Yusmeiro Petit Replace Tim Lincecum? — No Way!
Grant Bisbee of the McCovey Chronicles wrote a provocative article today in which he suggests that maybe the Giants should drop Tim Lincecum to the bullpen and move Yusmeiro Petit into the starting rotation. Bisbee is a smart guy who has written some good stuff, which is why I am disappointed with what seems an awful lot like an article primarily written to stir the pot and generate some extra hits for his website, which already gets plenty of traffic. [I’ve been there — sadly, you get more hits writing something ill-considered than something brilliant.]
I well remember how well Petit pitched as a starter in the Giants’ rotation at the end of last season, and I thought in March that there was a more-likely-than-not chance that by this point in the 2014 season, Petit would be starting instead of Ryan Vogelsong. (Way to go, Vogey!)
The upshot is that I have been watching Petit carefully this season, particularly his starts. He’s made six starts this season — two were great, and four were dreadful. As a starter this year, his ERA is 6.32. Despite the bad pitching since the All-Star Break, Timmy’s ERA is still 4.51.
Yes, Petit has a better season ERA because he’s pitched extremely well in middle relief. However, if Lincecum and Petit switch places as of Timmy’s next start, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Timmy has a better ERA come season’s end.
It’s simply a lot harder to be a starter than a middle reliever, at least as far as ERA is concerned.