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Most Consecutive Starts Won to Start the Season

Posted by Raphy on April 28, 2008

Last night Brandon Webb won his sixth consecutive start to begin the season. This makes him the 37th pitcher since 1956 to accomplish this. This list, which consists of a lot of great starters mixed in with a few surprises, includes 17 pitchers who won their first 7 or 8 starts. Amazingly however, no one approaches the start that Andy Hawkins had to the 1985 season. Hawkins won his first 10 starts, and he is still the only player since 1956 to even win 9. What's more amazing is that Hawkins, who only won 84 games in his career, never won more than 4 consecutive games during any other stretch during his career.

I was curious to see how these pitchers fared during the rest of the season. Here are the 36 seasons sorted by wins:

Pitcher Season Season Wins

Juan Marichal 1966 25

Randy Johnson 2002 24

Orel Hershiser 1988 23

Dontrelle Willis 2005 22

Dave Stewart 1990 22

Dave Stewart 1988 21

Bob Turley 1958 21

Josh Beckett 2007 20

Jack McDowell 1992 20

Frank Viola 1990 20

Rick Helling 1998 20

Randy Johnson 2000 19

Wally Bunker 1964 19

Whitey Ford 1956 19

Andy Hawkins 1985 18

Jon Garland 2005 18

Roger Clemens 2004 18

Roger Clemens 1991 18

Greg Swindell 1988 18

Dwight Gooden 1988 18

Bret Saberhagen 1987 18

Pedro Martinez 1997 17

Mike Mussina 2003 17

Rick Mahler 1985 17

Billy Pierce 1962 16

Ben McDonald 1994 14

Kazuhisa Ishii 2002 14

James Baldwin 2000 14

Fernando Vale. 1981 13

Wilson Alvarez 1994 12

Bob Tewksbury 1994 12

Neal Heaton 1990 12

Mike Norris 1981 12

Jered Weaver 2006 11

Rick Honeycutt 1980 10

Moose Haas 1986 7

That's quite a range. The pitchers averaged 17 wins and 24 out of the 36 won 17 games or more. Yet, there were 8 pitchers who won 13 games or less. However, if you don't count the strike years of 1981 and 1994, there were only 4 pitchers (of 31) who won 13 games or less (The overall average moves from 17.1 to 17.9).

A word on the final 4.

Obviously Jered Weaver's numbers are low because he wasn't in the majors for the first 2 months of the season. When he did debut, he won his first 7 starts and 9 decisions. He ended up taking 6 no-decisions as he finished his rookie season 11-2.

Neal Heaton had a magical start to 1990. Not only did he win his 6 starts, but in his first 14 starts he went 10-2 with a 2.89 ERA. Unfortunately, the rest of the season was more in line with the rest of his career and he finished the year 12-9 .

Moose Haas only pitched in 6 more games after winning his first 6. I assume that he was troubled by injuries, although I don't really remember.

Rick Honeycutt was an interesting one. After winning his first 6 starts, Honeycutt went 4-17. However, a good part of this is context. Honeycutt was pitching for a miserable Mariners team and so he went 10-17 despite having an ERA 22 points below the league average.

One Response to “Most Consecutive Starts Won to Start the Season”

  1. Stat of the Day » Making a Habit of Losing Says:

    [...] Yesterday I wrote about the players who won their first 6 starts.  Then  I heard the news that Barry Zito had been sent to the bullpen after losing his first 6 starts. So without further ado, here are the players (since 1956) who have 6 or more losses in consecutive appearances, all starts to begin a season. [...]