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John Smoltz and ERA

All the Roy Halladay to Boston talk is centered around a line that goes something like this: “Off-season signings Brad Penny and John Smoltz have disappointed. Smoltz especially with a 7.04 ERA and 1-4 record…”

Ignore the ERA and record, John Smoltz is fine. In 30 innings Smoltz has walked 5 and struck 28 out. Yeah, he’s given up a few home runs too, but his FIP is a steady 3.61 (3.82 xFIP) and tRA has him at 3.94 (4.81 tRA*) meaning he’s not giving up only sharply hit line drives. Still yet, his BABIP is .394 and his strand rate is 57.6%

Smoltz has had three starts with 5+ earned runs allowed, but look at the gamelogs from those games:

6/25: 5 IP, 7 H, 0 HR, 3 FB, 9 GB, 5 LD
7/6: 6 IP, 10 H, 0 HR, 7 FB, 13 GB, 4 LD
7/20: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 HR, 11 FB, 7 GB, 3 LD
7/26: 5 IP, 9 H, 1 HR, 7 FB, 5 GB, 5 LD

All total: 21.2 IP, 35 H, 4 HR, 28 FB, 34 GB, 17 LD. The results don’t seem to meet the processes. Allowing more hits than usual is nothing new for this year’s Red Sox team. They lead the league in BABIP against. A little over 32% of balls put into play result in hits. The next highest team is the Diamondbacks at 31.2%. Until someone produces evidence otherwise, I’m going to notch Smoltz’ BABIP up to a porous defense rather than a new found ability to throw watermelons 90 miles per hour.

The Red Sox are interested in Halladay because it’s Roy Halladay, not because John Smoltz or Brad Penny are pitching poorly.