ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija is winless in eight starts but ranks second in the Major Leagues with a 1.45 ERA. His teammate, Jason Hammel, says pitchers don't look at the record to judge someone's performance.
"Wins and losses are unfair," Hammel said Monday. "You have no control over wins and losses. Say you pitch well and lose, 1-0. You deserved a win. Sometimes you give up eight runs and your team scores nine, and you should probably lose that game.
"I honestly think WHIP, out of all the pitcher-type things, WHIP is the most important one," Hammel said. "If you're constantly having runners on base, you're not doing your job."
WHIP is walks plus hits per innings pitched, and Hammel didn't pick that statistic because he ranks fourth in the Majors in that category. The right-hander didn't know where he was on the stats chart.
"I just know that after a while, you figure out -- if you don't let them on base, you don't have to deal with them," he said.
The Cubs headed into Monday's game with 21 quality starts this season, but only six individual wins from starters in those games. The team record in the 21 games is 7-14. Is a quality start -- three earned runs or fewer over six innings -- a good gauge regarding a pitcher's performance?
"Quality start -- I've never paid attention to," Hammel said. "You can notch something in the column about quality starts, but if you're just shooting for six innings, you're not trying to do your job."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.