The Boston Red Sox have had many 20 game winners and several 20 game losers. Here is a look at the losers.
Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello recently joined the ranks of pitching notables with his 20th victory – a feat that is becoming more difficult to achieve as the pitching philosophy of baseball changes. The development of talented specialist and especially dominant closers have had a profound impact on starting pitching.
BSI’s Tracy Katzke recently profiled some of the more recent 20 game winners and now the losers get a peek.
In the early years of baseball, a 30 game winner was often common and a 20 game winner was generally expected from those who took the ball every third day and maybe even more frequently. Kid Nichols pitched for the other Boston team before the Red Sox winked into existence and had seven 30 win seasons out of eight.
More from BoSox Injection
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
- Red Sox exec claims Mookie Betts loss changed management style, but actions say otherwise
Baseball immortals from the dead ball era racked up prolific win totals and just a glance at the accomplishments of Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson show that. When a pitcher won thirty it was not unique, but expected of high level established talent.
The early days of baseball the important statistical measurement of a pitcher was winning percentage. That was the key. You were simply expected to start and finish a game. You would also be called upon to make a relief appearance in addition to starting chores since staffs were rather limited. Johnson, for example, had 34 saves in his career.
Denny McLain was the last 30 game winner in baseball and that was 1968 and what was known as the year of the pitcher. Bob Gibson posted a minuscule 1.12 ERA and baseball saw 339 shutouts that year. Future Red Sox hero Luis Tiant led the American League with a 1.60 ERA.
For a pitcher to lose 20 games also takes talent. There also has to be somewhat of a perfect baseball storm for such an accomplishment with the first and foremost being a dreadful team. The second is you must take the ball on a regular basis. Finally is some level of talent to actually keep you in the game and many 20 game losers have just that.
Baseball has 201 pitchers with the dubious honor of collecting 20 or more losses. The last was 2003 when Mike Maroth of the Tigers managed 21 losses for a terrible team. Maroth also checked in with a 5.73 ERA so he certainly contributed to the disaster.
The Red Sox have had nine pitchers lose at least 20 games and the last (thankfully) was in 1930. Some of the names have a plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame so we are not discussing baseball flotsam. Now for a look at who and how they accomplished that magical number.
Next: Two in 1906