By In Stuff

Winning and Losing, Take 2

Thanks to Tom Tango for pointing out that last night’s Seattle-Tampa Bay game is the PERFECT example of the utter stupidity of the pitcher win as currently constituted.

Mariners starter J.A. Happ gave up three runs in six innings — what we have come to know as a quality start. However, when he left the game, his team trailed 3-2 so he was not eligible for a win. He was only eligible for a loss. Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome had only pitched 5 1/3 innings, but he gave up just two earned runs so he left the game in the opposite position, eligible only for a win, not a loss.

Seattle got Happ “off the hook” — as they say on the radio — by scoring four runs off of Tampa Bay’s Jake McGee in the eighth inning. McGee gave up a single to Rickie Weeks, another to Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz then hit what probably should have been a double play grounder, only Nick Franklin made an error and the bases were loaded. Kyle Seager followed with the grand slam.

That put Tom Wilhemsen in position to get the win. Why? Well, he’d  he’d pitched a whole inning. It was a scoreless inning even though he did give up a single and a double. Why should he get the win? Well, you know, that’s the system. McGee, naturally, was now going to take the loss.

But of course it gets much sillier. The Rays trailed by three runs in the ninth, but then they came back. They did this by obliterating closer Fernando Rodney. David DeJesus singled, Brandon Guyer singled, Joey Butler was hit by a pitch, Evan Longoria doubled. Then there was an intentional walk and a run scoring groundout. And the game was tied.

And now, whew, well now nothing. The game was tied. By baseball’s rules, a tie game is a new game when it comes to pitchers getting the win or loss. McGee was off the hook. Willhemsen got his win taken away. Happ and Colome, who had each pitched more than half the game, were distant memories.

In the 10th, Kyle Seager homered again, this time off Brad Boxberger. That gave Seattle a 7-6 lead. The Mariners made it hold up with a breezy scoreless inning by reliever Joe Beimel.

And so what happened in the end? Right: The win went to FERNANDO BLEEPING RODNEY. Yep. He pitched one disastrous inning, blew a three-run lead, got the win. Sandy Koufax’s perfect game equaled one win. Fernando Rodney’s three-run implosion equaled one win.

Some misunderstand: My idea of counting team wins rather than pitcher wins for starters is not based on some idea that it’s more FAIR than the way it’s done now. I don’t think it’s “fair” to credit pitchers for wins and losses at all; they don’t win or lose games. There are examples EVERY SINGLE DAY oft how unfair the win is now.

But fair-unfair, in my view statistics should COUNT THINGS. Right now, we credit pitchers for wins and losses in this cockamamie way that counts some stuff, doesn’t count other stuff, gives more weight to some things than other things and so  on. These absurd add-ons confound and confuse and, in my opinion, don’t add anything to the conversation.

If the idea of the pitcher win statistic is — as I think it is — to determine which starting pitchers give their teams their best chance to win, then let’s actually record what starting pitchers give their teams their best chance to win.

Here, in case you were wondering, were the records of the 20-game winners in baseball last year:

Chris Tillman: 24-10
Max Scherzer: 24-9

Clayton Kershaw: 23-4
Jordan Zimmerman: 23-9
Adam Wainwright: 23-9

Jered Weaver: 22-12
Corey Kluber: 22-12
Felix Hernandez: 22-12
Johnny Cueto: 22-12

Scott Kazmir: 21-11
Mark Buehrle: 21-11
James Shields: 21-13

Henderson Alvarez: 20-10
Jon Lester: 20-12
Phil Hughes: 20-12
Madison Bumgarner: 20-13
David Price: 20-14

One final point about the win: It often seems like this is an old-school, new-school argument. That is to say, that traditionalists supposedly love the pitcher record and see great truths in it while new school people tend to write off pitcher wins and losses as pointless and silly. Obviously this is a cliche and a generalization — many people have nuanced views, maybe they like pitcher wins for what they are, maybe they don’t like pitcher wins but can see some value in it, and so on.

But even beyond the generalization I don’t think the old-school, new-school conflict is real because as far as I can tell NOBODY gives a rip about relief pitcher wins. Harold Reynolds, who I have come to think of as the Saint of the Pitcher Win, doesn’t care about relief pitcher wins. Jack Morris fans*, who will recite Morris’ record ad nauseum, don’t care about relief pitcher wins.

*I meant to put this in the original piece — Jack Morris, by team wins, is a 300-game winner. His career record was 302-224. That puts him 25th since Deadball in pitcher wins, which is pretty good, and his .574 win percentage is 42nd among 200-game winners.

Does this help or hurt his Hall of Fame argument? Probably neither — I don’t think anyone has had their Hall of Fame argument dissected quite as thoroughly as Morris. The 302 wins looks better because of the way we have come to view 300-game winners, but realistically he still has Dennis Marinez (304), Frank Tanana (308), Andy Pettitte (316), Mike Mussina (325), Jamie Moyer (343), Jim Kaat (345) and Tommy John (386) in front of him.

Here’s how little we care about relief pitcher wins: Mariano Rivera is the most celebrated reliever in baseball history; do you have ANY idea what his won-loss record was? Does it matter in the least? In his best years, he was 4-2, 6-5, 5-5 and 6-4. Who cares? Why are we wasting those wins and losses on him when we don’t even follow it?

Or this: There are two pitchers in this Hall of Fame with LOSING RECORDS. How ridiculous is that? How could that even happen? Well, it happened because they are relievers and nobody cares — one is Rollie Fingers (114-118) and the other is Bruce Sutter (68-71) and it just doesn’t matter. The wins and losses that relief pitchers get just disappear into the ether.

And that is as big a reason as any why it would be so easy to just switch this thing. We’re not looking at relief pitcher wins and losses ANYWAY. We could start giving wins and losses to the starters and it would take weeks before anyone would even notice.

So what would we be losing? There would be those who say that wins as now constituted reward starters who go deeper into games. But I just don’t think that’s true because, basically, NOBODY goes deeper into games. We’re talking about one or two extra outs — nobody completes games, nobody grits it out in the eighth inning, nobody comes close to completing games. That’s just an old way of thinking. Clayton Kershaw goes deeper into games than anybody … he averages 7 inning starts and has completed just 11 games since 2011, none so far this year. That’s what constitutes going deep into games in 2015.

I honestly don’t think we would be losing anything. I think won-loss records would still reflect, in the same general way that the hodgepodge pitcher win stat does now, who the best starting pitchers are. But we would get a little bit clearer picture and we wouldn’t be giving lip service to silly and outdated statistical guidelines. Clear the fog.

46 Responses to Winning and Losing, Take 2

  1. Karyn says:

    I care a tiny bit about relief pitcher wins, as they occasionally help my fantasy team.

  2. Asher says:

    Regarding the salience of reliever wins — isn’t there a separate point to be made about how ridiculous it is what we do and don’t care about with regard to players at different positions? For example, Maddux surely won his teams lots of extra games with his defense. But in comparing him with other greats, it goes out the window. Or, to take a better example, we don’t really talk much about receiving yards when mentioning great running back seasons — but if we got into that habit, wouldn’t it make it even more clear how LaDainian Tomlinson towered over every other mid-2000s RB? As far as the Chargers were concerned those receiving yards meant as much as rushing yards, but it’s unclear how much that factors into fans’ perception of where he ranks among the all time great RBs. (And Tomlinson and Faulk are probably poor examples of this, since they were such amazing receivers it was generally noticed. How about the all-time great who was a pretty good receivers, compared to other all time great RBs who didn’t catch passes at all?)

    • invitro says:

      That Maddux won “lots of extra games” with his defense is hardly sure to me. His dWAR is 0.1 on bb-r. Why are you so sure about this?

      • Jake says:

        His dWAR for every single season is 0.0, but 18 Gold Gloves is a lot for a guy who added no value with his defense. Yes, I know, I know Palmeiro won one playing like 28 games at 1st base, etc etc, but I remember the eye test validating the perception that Mad Dog was a great defensive pitcher. Are there any pitchers who have any kind of significant defensive WAR tally?

        • invitro says:

          He could easily be a great defensive pitcher, and still not have won lots of extra games with his defense.

          • Pitching a max of 34 games would make it hard to gain a lot of dWAR. I’m not sure what the adjustment is for pitcher. But, having watched Maddux, unlike a lot of pitchers, he was in position to field. He made jumping and getting the chopper over the mound into an art form. He was very quick off the mound on anything hit in front of him & also stopped a lot of sharply hit balls. Yeah, I doubt you’d find many pitchers who accumulated much dWAR.

      • Dr. G says:

        BB-Ref and Fangraphs, as it appears to me, has advanced fielding data since 2003. So that would capture the last 6 of his 23 seasons, starting with his age-37 season.
        Regardless of where you stand, some other info will be needed to prove or disprove his defensive contributions, as basing it on dWAR captures a fraction of the picture.

    • Jake says:

      This is what you’re looking for, and it’s an interesting list. Warrick Dunn is 13th all time among RBs. Makes you think about guys like Adrian Peterson, who was/is of course a dominant runner, but never much of a pass catching threat.

    • BIP says:

      The vastly better analogue for pitchers would be their contributions with the bat (of course, those are pretty much always negative, though some are much less negative than others). Greg Maddux could very well be the best defensive pitcher alive, but it’s largely irrelevant because pitchers rarely get chances to make defensive plays, especially the difficult ones where differences in defensive ability can bear out.

  3. Dan says:

    In 1979 Ron Davis went 14-2 for the Yankees and led the league in winning percentage while only throwing 85 innings. I think he got tagged with the nickname “Vulture” that year because he was put in so many games when the team was behind but came back for the win. Not to take anything away from him, because he pitched well enough, but the batters earned the “win”.

  4. Trent Phloog says:

    Well, thanks, NOW I care about relief pitcher wins. Now I really want to know who has the best relief pitcher W-L record in history, who has the most wins, and separately, who has the most losses. Obviously both would have to be pretty good relievers, just to hang around that long. But I’d guess the RP with the most losses is actually a significantly BETTER pitcher than whoever has the most wins, since he would be a “late and close” type reliever, brought in to protect slim leads or keep games tied. Can anyone do the research?

    • It would be an old timer. Roy Face went 18-1 one year, without starting a game. But the rest of his career, as you’d expect from a reliever, was around .500. Hoyt Wilhelm went 15-3 and 12-4 in his best two years as strictly a reliever. Pretty unremarkable record other than that. As a reliever, to win a game, you have to come in when your team is behind & then your team has to rally, usually while you are in the game (not all the time, of course, because you can be deemed the “most effective” pitcher & gain a win under some conditions). So, I think it’s largely a fluke when a reliever wins a lot of games.

  5. Ernie says:

    This is a very confusing argument. Joe is saying he doesn’t like the stats for win, and wants to change it so that it represents a different stat for win that he also doesn’t like but would be “clear of fog”. That seems like a lot of effort to get a result you actually won’t care about.

    I would say if you found a way to make the win a stat you care about then great, if not it is hard to get people to rally around a cause you don’t believe in yourself.

    • Evan says:

      I’d say you grasp Joe’s argument pretty well, considering that you find it very confusing. He is proposing a solution that would be easy to implement and adjusts an aspect of the win that appears to be universally regarded as broken. Even on this board, where people seem to argue about everything (case in point: your post), there appears to be universal agreement that relief wins hold no value. Surely that is worth a 700 word blog entry.

  6. AaronB says:

    Joe, I get that wins are a bit overrated, as they are currently counted, but you’re anti-win stance has long rubbed me the wrong way. They really do have value. Yes, you see some cheap wins, but over the long haul, it’s kind of funny how good pitchers seem to win lots of games. See Adam Wainwright. I see pitcher’s wins as a tool when evaluating SP’s, just as I see WHIP, BABIP, etc. They’re all tools to be used to evaluate a pitchers effectiveness. I think the best GM’s, managers, scouts use all the available tools at their disposal to determine if a player works.

    Ok ,now that’s out of the way, I really like your idea of using the team’s W/L record as the SP’s record. I think that’s a nice compromise and should help weed out the cheap wins. Not always, but mostly. Just imagine if the Royal’s had somehow bailed Guthrie out the other day. He would have been credited with a “win”, despite giving up 11 runs in 1IP. Far fetched, but possible.

    Now to do this, someone would need to go through and update all the pitchers of the past. Dizzy Dean is 150-83 in his career, now he’d be 151-76..kind of crazy to see how close he really is. Dean got several wins in relief, but I think he’s record is a reflection of how deep they pitched into games in those days. Now another favorite, Bob Gibson: 251-174 record. His adjusted record is now: 285-195. Win % for Gibby is nearly identical, .590 real, .594 team W/L. Dean’s is about the same as well. Anyway, I think it’s pretty interesting, thanks!

    • Jake says:

      “it’s kind of funny how good pitchers seem to win lots of games”

      Well, yeah. Did you really need to look at Adam Wainwright’s W-L record to know that he was good? Dean is a bad example, as you point out. In his heyday, ’32-37, he closed out 140 of his 195 starts. There’s not a big need to differentiate.

      The point is not that pitcher wins are completely useless, it’s that they are assigned in a silly, arbitrary way.

    • Spencer says:

      I promise the best GMs are paying little to no attention to pitcher win-loss records.

  7. The rules do allow the official scorer to not give the win to an ineffective pitcher:
    “The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.”
    It’s rare, but I have seen it ( Sounds like that should have been the case in this game. But official scorers are seemingly reluctant to do so. No doubt Rodney would have complained if he was deprived of the win.

    • David says:

      No, that box score you cited isn’t a parallel to the Fernando Rodney game.

      If the starting pitcher leaves with his team ahead and his team maintains the lead until the end of the game, he gets a win. But if he doesn’t pitch at least 5 innings, he’s not eligible for the win. So then the scorer awards it to the relief pitcher that was “most effective”. That’s what happened in the Mets-Nationals game you referenced. It’s not that uncommon.

      That wasn’t the case in the Fernando Rodney game, so there was no way the scorer could have given the win to someone other than Rodney.

  8. dfj79 says:

    At the very least, a pitcher who blows a save or hold should not be eligible to get a win. If a team comes back to win despite a blown lead, the W should just revert back to the first pitcher who left the game eligible for it.
    In other words, if the starting pitcher leaves the game eligible for the W, he should get it as long as the team eventually wins the game, no matter if there’s a blown lead or two in between.

  9. dfj79 says:

    As for getting rid of reliever wins altogether and crediting all decisions to the starter, I mostly agree, though I wouldn’t mind if the scorer were allowed some discretion for situations where a reliever pitches multiple innings and is clearly more effective than the starter. That would also cover games where the starter gets injured early and the long man comes in and throws four or five good innings.
    Anyway, the spirit of the rule should be that the W goes to the pitcher who did the most to help the team win, not to whoever happened to be in the game when the winning run scored. So if a team wins 1-0 on a ninth-inning walk-off, the W should go the starter who pitched eight scoreless innings, not the reliever who pitched the ninth (even if he was effective).

  10. Ian says:

    I’m a bit of a traditionalist but I really like your idea. It does give some value back into the W/L record (even if it still would be imperfect). But we’d have to make sure we go back and fix the numbers in history – you wouldn’t want to see Cy Young’s win number get beaten by an *.

  11. Devon says:

    Nice followup article here Poz. You got me thinkin’ about the All-Star games… pitchers are not allowed to go more than 3 innings in the ASG, yet, the starter can still get credited with a W. Ones that come to mind are Matt Cain in 2012, Mark Buehrle in 2005, & Dave Steib in 1983.

  12. I’ve been looking for a pitcher who won 30 games based upon Joe’s suggested revision but I don’t have a data base to work with, so I just checked for obvious possibles via Retrosheet, I get 29 wins for Roberts (1952), Newcombe (1956), Koufax (1965 and 1966), and Welch (1990). And I may be overstating Roberts and Newcombe, some of whose wins may have been in relief (Koufax and Welch almost never relieved).

    Anybody want to take a crack at it?

    • heres what I came up using retrosheet,
      Koufax 1963 34-6
      W. Ford 1961 34-5
      McLain 1968 33-8
      Cuellar 1970 31-9
      Mudcat Grant 1965 30-9
      Drysdale 1962 30-10
      Koufax 1965 30-11

  13. buddaley says:

    “If the idea of the pitcher win statistic is — as I think it is — to determine which starting pitchers give their teams their best chance to win, then let’s actually record what starting pitchers give their teams their best chance to win.”

    Ok, so the point of assigning wins to pitchers is not to evaluate how good a pitcher is but “to determine which starting pitchers give their teams the best chance to win….”

    Does assigning wins/losses to the starters based on what the team does in their start do that? Did Happ give the Mariners a better chance to win because he pitched 2/3 of an inning more than Colome and only gave up one more run? Were the Mariners more likely to win because they were one run down when he left the game or were the Rays more likely to lose because they were ahead by a run when Colome was relieved?

    Take yesterday’s slate. In 6 games, relievers won and lost the game. Let’s say the wins should have gone to any starter who went 5 innings at least and gave his team the best chance to win.

    In the SD/Angels game, the Padres won. Their starter, Despaigne, went 6 innings giving up zero runs. The Angels starter, Shoemaker, went 7 innings giving up zero runs. Despaigne gets the win!

    In Colorado, both starters gave up 1 run in 7 innings. Lorenzen wins the lottery there. The same thing happened in the Cubs/Nats game. Hendricks beats Zimmerman though each left the game with their team tied at 1 after 7.

    In other cases, both when starters or relievers got the win or loss, the difference in the team’s position when the starter left was minimal. Feldman won because he gave up 1 run while Tillman allowed 2, but Tillman pitched 7 and Feldman just 6. Dickey and Danks both pitched 5 innings and Danks’ team lost. He did allow one more run than Dickey did, but it was 6-5.

    In Oakland, Price beat Chavez 1-0. Fair enough, but Chavez pitched one more inning (8-7). Why does Happ get a win in TB while Chavez gets a loss in Oakland? How did Price give his team the “best chance to win” more than Colome did?

    I just don’t see how awarding wins to starting pitchers, regardless of their performance, even if it is not a means to evaluate them, makes anything clearer. Inevitably, regardless of purpose, that stat will be used to judge how well pitchers did. The real object seems to be to keep counting something which tells us virtually nothing but to tell us virtually nothing in a different way.

    Or perhaps it is to give us a cumulative number that over the long haul does tell us something about a pitcher’s career, but not anything more than what the current system tells us.

    • buddaley says:

      And it kind of happened again. Felix Hernandez deserved credit today for a brilliant performance vs. TB, but by Joe’s system, Archer would be saddled with the loss. Felix pitched a complete game giving up just 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB and 8 Ks. Archer only pitched 8 innings, but he also allowed zero runs while giving up 2 hits, no walks and getting 12 strikeouts. I suppose since it was a complete game, Hernandez did give his team the “best chance to win”, but does Archer deserve a loss on his record?

      • BIP says:

        Yeah, I don’t understand what Joe is talking about. If he wants a stat to track the influence pitchers had on their team’s chances to win (without assigning credit to his defense), that already exists: it’s called Win Probability Added.

    • flcounselor says:

      First, you question changing the definition of a win from the current one which “evaluate(s) how good a pitcher is.”

      Wait, what?

      You believe that wins currently tell us how “good” a pitcher is? Wow.

      Next, are you suggesting the pitcher on a team that lost (Chavez) deserves to be credited with a win?

      Then we should also assign losses to pitchers on teams who won.

      Just imagine how interesting stats can be if we count things that didn’t happen. Absurd, true, but lots of fun!

  14. Anon says: used to run a weekly column on all the absurd wins and also saves similar to Rodney’s last night. There are routinely dozens of examples every week of pitchers pitching poorly and getting a win (or pitching well and getting zilch for it). As to saves, the patron saint of ridiculous saves is Wes LIttleton who pitched the final 3 to get the save in that 30-3 Rangers/Orioles game from 2007- he came into a 14-3 game which is bad enough but pitched the 8th with a 24-3 lead and the 9th with a 30-3 lead:

    • oilcan23 says:

      For a brief while, I was ready to go to the mattresses to have this argument. I looked at the box scores one day to find a great example of the wrong guy getting the win. And, on the day I looked, probably HALF of the wins went to the “wrong” guy. Next day: same thing. Day after: same thing. (I just checked today’s paper, and yesterday wasn’t that bad. Maybe a third of the wins were garbage.)

      I realized there was no sense in arguing. Most (not all) pitcher wins are garbage. There’s a dozen other (better) ways to see who the best starting pitchers are.

  15. Mark Van Overloop says:

    Joe-As a long time reader and fan of your writings,there is a book-Earned Wins by Andre Lower(published in 2014)that presents a better system, of ‘awarding’ wins and losses, than the traditional system now in place or the idea that you propose in the above articles.Lower’s system determines W-L records as earned, based on ERA+(era normalized to league average and adjusted for home park). Earning wins in Lower’s system is more difficult,than the way they are currently awarded, with the system now in place. This book is a very interesting and worthwhile read. Mark V.O.

  16. nevyn49 says:

    It would be fun to build a new stat called “expected W-L” for this.

    Joe’s notion of did your team win is far simpler, but the above may be better.

    You take the starter’s (as Joe mentioned, no one cares about reliever wins) IP and runs allowed, you project runs scored for the remaining outs based on the average scoring per out leaguewide for the year, and compare against the average scoring for a game, and determine the “winner” (a tie would be a no decision, but its also a fractional score so unlikely).

    Still would not be perfectly fair or perfect measure of performance (mostly because of variation in defense).

    But what it would give you is “how many of this players starts should a team expect to have won or lost”.

  17. nevyn49 says:

    Future blog post subject:

    What is the pitcher-season combination with the highest number of “that stat is stupid” wins in MLB history?

    So maybe count the most non quality start wins, or something more intense.

    At times, we have looked at the opposite (great pitching years with low wins totals), and we’ve certainly looked at higher wins totals with higher ERAs. But it would be fun to go deeper. How many of those wins were games the pitcher had zero business winning?

    • Anon says:

      As near as I can tell, there have only been 18 seasons where a pitcher won 20 with an ERA over 4.00 (which is kind of surprising, I would have guessed more). Bobo Newsom had the highest ERA for a 20 game winner at 5.08 in 1938 as best I can tell. However even that season, he only had 5 wins where he gave up 5+ runs. Highest ERA among anyone recent – Rick Helling won 20 with a 4.41 ERA in 1998 but he only won 2 games where he gave up 5+. LAst to do it was Pettitte in 2003 and he only had 3 where he gave up 5+.

      Dropping it to 18 wins and sticking to more recently. BArtolo Colon won 18 with a 5.01 ERA in 2004 but did not win a single game where he gave up 5. Dropping it to 15 nets you Shawn Estes and his 15 wins with a 5.84 ERA in 2004 but he only had 1 win where he gave up 5.

      I think you’ll find it difficult to find someone who won a bunch of games despite pitching poorly (the opposite to Nolan Ryan’s 1987).

      • oilcan23 says:

        I’m not sure where to put this comment, but this place is as good as any.

        Thank you to EVERYONE who ran the numbers and answered some of these questions. I’m really impressed by your efforts.

  18. Marco says:

    Hows about: starting pitcher W-L as currently constituted (need to pitch at least 5 innings, leave with the lead), but no one but the starting pitcher is eligible for the win or loss.

    I feel like this is a baby step MLB could take – just eliminate wins and losses for relievers.

  19. Spencer says:


    By Fangraphs WAR:

    1966 Denny McLain, 20 W, 0.7 wFAR
    1973 Catfish Hunter, 21 W, 0.8 fWAR
    1979 Joe Niekro, 21 W, 1.5 fWAR

    Don’t focus on raw ERA. McClain’s era of 4.38 was worse than the league average in 1966. That’s pretty bad.

  20. Frog says:

    If the win loss thing has to stay (and I’d be happy to see it go) then why not assign team wins to all the pitchers based on the number of innings they pitched? They all contributed, so they should all get a share. So if there were 3 pitchers used and each pitched 3 innings then each would get 1/3 of the win. If a pitcher goes the whole game he gets 1.0 wins. If the started goes 6 innings then he gets 2/3 of the win and the other pitcher(s) get their share od the remaining 1/3 win. this would also help in a way with the valuing of receivers and closers… (and could get rid of the stupid “save” statistic as well)

    And if the idea of the “win” is to show pitchers that give their teams the chance to win – isn’t that roughly “Quality Starts”? That to me seems a much better statistic to try and tinker with rather than the contortions required to turn “wins” from something meaningless and bizarrely derived into something nearly as meaningless but a little less bizarre.

    Good article Joe thanks as always.

    • oilcan23 says:

      I like quality starts, but here’s the thing I don’t like about it:

      Six innings, three runs: quality start.
      Nine (or, heck, eleven) innings, four runs: NOT a quality start.

      Am I wrong? Because that drives me slightly crazy.

  21. Pete Ridges says:

    My friends, I give you this gem by Luis Avilan last year:
    Avilan came in to pitch the eighth inning with a four-run lead. One inning pitched, five runs. He finished up with the win.

    The ironic thing is that a loss by a relief pitcher is almost always a sign that he did something bad. Can we get rid of the wins and keep the losses?

  22. rtallia says:

    What about actually giving credit to ALL the pitchers who help win the game…proportional to the number of outs they got? Wouldn’t this be the most representative of what actually happened? If you got 1 out in a team win, you get 1/27th of a win. If you got 24 outs, you get 24/27ths of a win. It’s actually pretty easy to figure out–so Tuesday night’s team win by Seattle would be this:

    Happ, .6 (18/30)
    Wilhelmsen, .133 (4/30)
    Furbush, .066 (2/30)
    Rodney, .1 (3/30)
    Beimel, .1 (3/30)

    I proposed this over at Bill James’ site and he didn’t like it it, he said that it should still be integers. But at the end of the year, most times, the starter’s records are pretty close to what they are anyway when you add up all the .6s and .77s, just with an extra decimal thrown in. It seems easy enough to calculate, and, after all, it would still be a counting stat. Thoughts?

  23. belmontbill says:

    I agree completely with the absurdity of the win stat. It made sense 100 years ago when most pitchers went 8 or 9 innings virtually every time out, but it doesn’t make sense nowadays.

    Here’s an idea. How about we award the win to the pitcher on the winning team whose
    outs exceeds their baserunners by the greatest margin? This wouild usually be the starting pitcher but not always. A starter who leaves after 6 innings having given up 9 hits and 4 walks would have a score of 5 (18 outs minus 13 baserunners). A reliever
    who pitches 2 innings and allows no baserunners would have a score of 6, so he would get the win rather than the starter in this example.

    The main problem might be deciding who gets the win when 2 or more pitchers end up
    with the same score. Hmmm. Back to the drawing board for me!

  24. […] recent missives on that statistic, you should. It’s been good stuff. Here’s part 1, 2 and 3. I assume he’s reached his end, but Joe loves words, so I wouldn’t be surprised […]

  25. A win in a save situation is a bad thing, since it implies a blown save. So for a pitcher like Rivera who’s almost always used that way, a win isn’t that different from a loss.

  26. 85kc says:

    Didn’t Dean Chance get the win in an All Star game without throwing a pitch? I think he came in with game tied, picked a runner off for the third out and then his team scored and won.

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