Everyone knows the pitching staff has been good this year. But how good? Using ERA+ as a measuring stick, pretty freaking good. Maybe even historically good. The Reds' ERA+ right now sits at 126. Let's see how that stacks up.
Here is a chart of every NL pitching staff since division play started in 1969 with an OPS+ of 125 or higher. Pretty short list.
YEAR TEAM ERA+ WINS
2002 ATL 133 101
1997 ATL 131 101
2011 PHI 128 102
2003 LAD 128 85
1998 ATL 128 106
1993 ATL 128 104
2012 CIN 126 98*
1996 ATL 125 96
Going back to 1969 just 8 pitching staffs have finished the season at 125+ or batter. The Reds' OPS+ ranks them 7th. But that is actually 7th out of 598 pitching staffs. Aside from the other-worldly Atlanta staffs featuring Maddux, Smoltz etc., only three teams' pitchers have managed to put up an OPS+
of 125 or better. That is some pretty heady territory this year's Reds have entered.
And look at the results. Using 98 wins for Cincinnati (the pace they are currently on), these eight teams won a total of 793 games. Or just a shade over 99 games each.
This includes the 2003 Los Angeles Dodgers team which won just 85. That team, incidentally, was pathetic offensively. They had the dubious distinction of finishing last in the league in OBP, SLG and OPS. They scored just 3.5 runs per game. And yet still won 85 games because of the pitching staff.
You get good pitching and wins seem to naturally follow.