A starting pitcher records a quality start when he pitches at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer. A starting pitcher has two jobs: to prevent runs and get outs. The quality start statistic helps to quantify which pitchers did a "quality" job in those two departments.
However, the quality start has come under criticism. A pitcher who allows three earned runs over six innings would have an ERA of 4.50 -- not good -- and yet he still receives a quality start. In that sense, quality starts must be taken with a grain of salt. But there's still something to be said about the stat, given that six innings and three earned runs are pretty standard barometers for a successful start.
John Lowe, then a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, coined the term in 1985 as a means to gauge whether a pitcher did his job. Lowe also created another wrinkle to go along with the stat. He called quality starts in which a pitcher got the loss "tough losses." And he called non-quality starts in which a pitcher earned the win "cheap wins."
Watch: Michael Fulmer allows three earned runs across six innings to meet the minimum requirements for a quality start.
Some fantasy scoring systems count quality starts in lieu of wins. Furthermore, a pitcher theoretically puts himself in a position to win each time he notches a quality start.
In A Call
"quality outing," "quality performance," "he was quality"