Originally Posted by KyWhiSoxFan
You mean September performances after the team has been eliminated and they're playing another non-contender.
The early September performances are very important--notably this year in the midst of a pennant race--and the rookie pitchers generally did well. I think the problems they had as a group was general fatigue from a long season and the lack of veteran starters to eat innings earlier in the season to make it easier on them later.
Santiago had a good year. But, no, he is not going to pitch a one-hitter every time out next year.
The White Sox weren't eliminated going into the game. But in any case, a mid-season performance can be just as misleading as a September performance, even in a pennant race if you are going to judge a pitcher on one game. The list of major league pitchers who come up and impress for three months and never approach that consistently in their careers again is a long one. In the end, you don't even know if Quintana has a career as a solid starter in front of him, despite doing so well when the games were more important.
The A's in recent history have had a bunch of starters come up and look great and soon struggle, usually with arm trouble figuring into it. Vin Mazarro made his debut taking a shutout into the seventh against the White Sox before coming out. In his next start, he took a shutout into the eighth against the Orioles. He pitched four shutout innings against the Giants in his third start before Tim Lincecum and Aaron Rowand got hits to cap a three-run fifth inning and he has struggled since, this year making headlines by giving up 7 earned runs in miserable 1.1 innings when the Royals just left him out there as if it were a spring training game.
But in 1970 with the A's out of the race, September callup Vida Blue pitched a one-hit shutout against the expansion Royals after the worst White Sox team in franchise history roughed him up in his previous start. Two starts later, he no-hit the Twins, who were coasting to the AL West title -- up 8.5 games with nine left to play. The next season, Blue with his 1.82 starter's ERA was the reason Wilbur Wood didn't win the Cy Young in his first 20-win season with an ERA of 1.91.
It isn't that anyone can go in an shut down a major league team, especially now when starting pitchers aren't expected to pitch nine innings. What a pitcher has done doesn't tell you what he will do in the future. It may tell you what he has the ability to do under opimimum conditions. It doesn't tell you how he can adjust to the adjustments other players are making. It doesn't tell you how he can pitch with a dead arm, which all quality starters have to do over the course of a season. It doesn't even tell you how well he can pitch out of the stretch, although there are statistics that attempt to do that.
Santiago pitched a great game. It may have told you more if it were against the Tigers. But even then, it wouldn't have told you if he could be a consistently strong starter in the future.