Pitcher's W-L Record

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    I know there are a lot of posters on this board who think a pitcher’s w-l record is irrelevant. The rationale is that there are things happening beyond the pitcher’s control such as lack of offensive support, poor defense, poor base running, etc. that cam impact who wins the game. While these things are true I wonder if there are other things going on as well?

    If a team has a poor offense, poor defense, etc.., why would those things always show up that fifth day instead of showing up randomly? Compare Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright. We all know Martinez is the superior pitcher but why is there the disparity in w-l record? Is it as simple as offensive support?

    Could there be other things going on that are more difficult to measure?

    What about the pace in which the pitcher pitches?
    Is he liked in the clubhouse or does he give off a negative vibe?
    Does he project an aura of confidence?
    Do the the opposing pitchers and hitters bear down extra hard when he is on the mound?

    I think back to a guy like Jose Deleon who had nasty stuff but the w-l record never reflected it. It was always brushed off as lack of support or bad luck but I think these things are more complex.



    Some pitchers just win. Just like some hitters are clutch. There are folks that will spin numbers that ‘prove’ that its not true that some pitchers just win and some hitters are clutch.



    Wainwright 12-5 5.12
    Lance Lynn 10-7 2.94



    Random variation explains some, but there are certainly other situational factors. For example, some pitchers are better at pitching with a 3 or 4 run lead than others by not trying to walk the fine line on location…willing to give up run to avoid giving up several. That can be the difference between winning/losing while not being so worried about the ERA.



    Not sure why the pitchers win and loss record matter at all. It is a team sport they win and lose as a team. That’s the only record that matters.



    I have never bought in to the idea that pitchers have very little control of whether they win or not.

    Good pitchers make good pitches in critical situations. It may be in a 1-0 game or a 7-6 game but a good pitcher will make a number of quality pitches in critical situations. Sometimes they get into trouble early but you better finish them off or you could have seen your last run.

    I am reminded of the time when Gussie Busch got angry at Carlton and had him traded to a hapless Philly team for Rick Wise a 50-50 pitcher. So the story was that Wise would do much better for a quality Cardinal team. Well Wise continued to be basically a 50-50 pitcher while Carlton won something like 26 games for a very poor Philly team.

    Bottom line is the pitchers have more control than the hitters in the game. Good pitching will almost always stop good hitting.

    We have to give Waino credit for making the most of his opportunities. That is what a quality pitcher does. Martinez on the other hand loses games he should win due to melting down in many tough situations. He will probably become a great Cardinal pitcher but still has something to learn from a savvy vet like Wainwright.



    Good thoughts Sooner, I believe similarly. Obviously pitchers have an impact on every play. Rising to the occasion during high leverage situations is NOT random in many cases. Some guys want that spotlight, while many others shy away.



    So by that logic Waino has been the best pitcher for the Cards since he has the highest winning percentage on the team. Ok


    I still love the pitcher W-L stat. There was always something special about the 20 game winner, which is pretty much a relic of the past. Two of my favorite standout W-L records are Carlton’s 1972 season of course, and another former Cardinal, Larry Jackson, who went 24-11 for a Cub team that finished 10 games below .500 in 1964.

    The reason the pitcher’s won-loss statistic evolved in the first place was that the position is by far the most important one in the game, and has the most impact on a game’s outcome. In the early years of baseball, pitcher’s were expected to complete the game, and usually did, so the W-L really meant something.

    Obviously pitching for a better team (better offense and defense that is) will usually help the W-L, and their are random events beyond a pitcher’s control that will impact the record. To accurately assess any player, one always needs to take in several statistics. Even as a kid looking at baseball cards, I could see that some pitchers were really better than others, even though the lesser guy won more games. In 1962 Whitey Ford had that glittering 25-4 record on his baseball card for the ’61 season, but as an 8 year old kid I would look at his numbers and see that he was only 12-9 the year before, with a similar ERA, even a bit lower in ’60, and knew that he was just as good in ’60 as ’61, but in ’61 everything came together.’

    Today the W-L does not mean as much, because the pitcher of record gets more help from other pitchers than in the past. Rarely does the starter finish the game, but the rules still say he can get a win if his team is leading after 5 and maintains the lead. Today pitchers probably average what, 2-3 innings less per start than their ancestors? So in a sense we could say the W-L record has lost 25-30% of it’s meaning compared to prior generations.

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