Earlier this week, we took a look at how the Boston College baseball program's fallen and risen under the watch of head coach Mike Gambino. We looked at it solely through the eyes of the team's batting offense. With that in mind, we switch gears and instead head to the team's pitching unit to continue the look.
Mike Gambino took over a Boston College team that was really bad on the hill in 2010. Despite having a consistency of five pitchers with eight starts or more, the Eagles had an absolutely abhorrent 6.71 ERA. Outside of Pat Dean and Taylor Lasko, BC won games but had a virtually horrendous statistical season. And even then, Dean and Lasko weren't exactly setting the world on fire with a 4.75 and 5.14 ERA or a .275 and .278 opponent's batting average, respectively.
So when the team improved in 2011 to a 5.63 ERA (over a run better) and dropped the opponent's batting average 10 points to .290, there was actually cause for optimism. But four years later, for the start of 2015, BC was still missing something. Even though they improved in some areas, they went backwards in others.
Pitching Statistics (Five Year Trend)
|Earned Run Average||5.63||5.29||5.38||4.29||4.41|
|Opponent's Batting Average||.290||.283||.292||.261||.255|
|On Base Percentage||.331||.358||.376||.359||.339|
|Walks Plus Hits Per Innings Pitcher (WHIP)||1.60||1.65||1.59||1.45||1.35|
The trending statistics are pretty interesting in that there are no real trends. The only thing we can tell is that BC was virtually a different team in almost all categories than they were over the first three seasons. Throughout Gambino's first three years, the team limped along, getting hit almost as frequently as they did before he was head coach. In the past two years, though, there was a dramatic increase, as if they were almost a completely different team.
The 2015 season featured what was the best statistical season by pitchers. The team gave up more runs per game, but their strikeouts-to-walk ratio was ridiculously better, and their WHIP was a five year low.
But what might be most surprising is that Boston College didn't really improve over some areas. Even when the team lost as many games as they did in '13, they were still right in the same range for slugging percentage and strikeouts-to-walks as the majority of years.
So the truth is that there really aren't any trends with pitching - only that it's performing at its highest levels under Gambino. In regards to getting the team into the ACC Tournament, the offense needs to continue to trend upwards as it was, but the pitching pretty much needs to stay exactly where it is.
College baseball is, was, and always will be a hitter's game as long as aluminum bats are used. Only two teams registered team ERAs under 3.00, with BC most comparable to Clemson (4.05) and Pitt (4.56). Florida State's team ERA is 3.70. Considering the Eagles opened up the season by coughing up nine, eight, seven, and 16 runs in four straight games - there's a pretty good indicator of where that might come from.
But that's not why we're here. There's no questioning that the pitching has gotten much better over Mike Gambino's five years. Even consider that the 2015 staff got better even after Andrew Chin, the celebrated starter, was lost to the MLB Draft and Jeff Burke was lost to a season-ending injury. Consider the bullpen saved four less games. Consider BC only had one more complete game than they had last year. Even given marginal improvements or depreciations, they should still be good enough next year with all the parts expected to come back.