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Making a Habit of Losing

Posted by Raphy on April 29, 2008

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.

                   StreakStart  Streak End Games   W   L   GS  CG SHO  GF  SV   IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR   ERA  HBP  WP  BK Teams
+-----------------+-----------+-----------+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 Chuck Stobbs       1957-04-16  1957-05-24     9    0   9   9   1   0   0   0   42.1   56   41   38   21   25   8   8.08   1   1   0 WSH                                  

 Mike Boddicker     1988-04-04  1988-05-14     8    0   8   8   1   0   0   0   46.1   56   38   30   18   35   6   5.83   7   2   4 BAL                                  

 Josh Towers        2006-04-05  2006-05-09     7    0   7   7   0   0   0   0   30.1   54   35   34   12   18   9  10.09   2   0   1 TOR
 Edgar Gonzalez     2004-06-05  2004-08-24     7    0   7   7   0   0   0   0   34     54   34   33   13   20  11   8.74   3   2   1 ARI
 Mike Maroth        2003-03-31  2003-05-01     7    0   7   7   1   0   0   0   41.1   44   27   26    5   24   4   5.66   3   2   0 DET
 Dave Lemanczyk     1978-04-07  1978-05-13     7    0   7   7   1   0   0   0   31.1   39   31   30   18   11   8   8.62   0   3   0 TOR                                  

 Barry Zito         2008-03-31  2008-04-27     6    0   6   6   0   0   0   0   28.2   41   30   24   15   11   4   7.53   0   1   0 SFG
 Jeff Weaver        2007-04-10  2007-05-10     6    0   6   6   0   0   0   0   22     50   35   35    7   12   4  14.32   1   1   0 SEA
 Jack Morris        1989-04-04  1989-05-01     6    0   6   6   3   0   0   0   37     45   21   18   15   33   3   4.38   0   3   0 DET
 Dave Stewart       1984-04-05  1984-04-29     6    0   6   6   0   0   0   0   30.1   36   25   25   18   19   7   7.42   1   2   0 TEX
 Ray Burris         1982-04-11  1982-05-09     6    0   6   6   2   0   0   0   36.2   43   21   16   15   13   4   3.93   0   1   0 MON
 Mike Morgan        1979-06-27  1979-07-24     6    0   6   6   0   0   0   0   33.2   48   29   23   26    4   2   6.15   0   0   0 OAK
 Fritz Peterson     1972-04-17  1972-05-14     6    0   6   6   0   0   0   0   37.1   41   22   16   11   19   1   3.86   2   0   1 NYY
 Luis Tiant         1969-04-08  1969-05-07     6    0   6   6   1   0   0   0   33.2   46   33   31   19   24  11   8.29   1   0   0 CLE

I'll add just a few quick notes.

1) Zito's streak will end with a relief appearance. Here is what ended the 13 previous 6+ game streaks:

a) Win: 6 (Morris, Stewart, Towers, Lemanczyk, Morgan & Peterson)

b) No Decision 6 (Boddicker, Gonzolez, Maroth, Weaver, Burris & Tiant)

c) Relief Appearance 1 (Stobbs)

2) 3 of the pitchers (Stobbs, Maroth & Tiant) lost 20 or more games.

3) Fritz Peterson was the only one to come back and finish over .500. Mike Boddiker (with the help of a team change) came close.

4) Edgar Gonzalez only made 10 starts all season. He went 0-9. This is the 4th most losses by a winless pitcher. His ERA+ of 50 ranks as the 9th worst in a season among pitchers with at least 10 starts.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 at 2:36 pm and is filed under Streak Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Making a Habit of Losing”

  1. David in Toledo Says:

    Whose start here was the most surprising? I would guess Tiant's. The previous year (1968) he had been lights-out (ERA+ of 186). And after these six starts, he improved in 1969 (ERA 3.00 the rest of the year, vs. a league average ERA in 1969 of 3.74.

  2. Wow. That's some drop-off Tiant had.
    In 1968 he lost his 7th game in his team's 108th game.
    In 1969 he lost his 7th game in his team's 28th game.

  3. DmbCubFan Says:

    1968 -- Commonly known as the year of the pitcher.

    After one of MLB's most pitching dominant season, they decided to lower the mound to 10 inches to put more power to the batter.

    Find me a pitcher whose stats didn't severely drop from 1968 to 1969...

    actually, that might be a great stat of the day topic

  4. Tiant's ERA increased 2.11 points. That was the second largest jump among pitchers who qualified for the title in both years. Only Steve Blass had a harder time adjusting.

  5. David in Toledo Says:

    SmrtCubFan's reminder about the mound lowering means that Tiant in the spring of 1969 had a "drop off" in two respects. But, as noted in post #1, by June he did adjust, or get over his arm trouble, or compensate somehow for whatever factors accounted for his terrible 1969 beginning.

    I was also intrigued by Mike Maroth, who, after all, allowed only 49 base runners in 41 innings while losing seven straight. He was pitching for a pretty bad team that year. And this kind of thing happened. On May 1, he had a no-hitter for 7 innings. Then he got to 2 out and 2 on in the 8th. Wild pitch, single, and he's out of the game, and his relief gives up 4 straight base runners on the way to a Maroth no-decision. . . . Four of Maroth's first 7 losses came in games when HIS game score was 60 or higher (and in the other three, he stank).

  6. damthesehigheels Says:

    on note number 4 you'll see everyone above (below?) edgar gonzalez on that list made relief appearances too...

  7. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Tiant missed a lot of '70 and '71 with arm injuries, and I wonder if he was already bothered in '69. He then returned in '72 as a junkballer and had a great second act to his career.

  8. David in Toledo Says:

    Because of Tiant's 186 ERA+ in 1968, I ran a search to see how often a pitcher is that superior to the rest of the hurlers in a particular year. The answer is 66 times, ERA+ 185 or higher, 162 minimum innings. The first time was Cy Young in 1901. In 1968 Luis Tiant was joined at that level by Bob Gibson (ERA+ 258, Stat O' the Day April 20, 2008).

    Highest ERA+ (easily available on the Leader boards) is Pedro Martinez, ERA+ 291 in 2000. 1997 is the only year in which four pitchers so distinguished themselves: Clemens, Martinez, Maddux, R. Johnson.

    Three pitchers finished at the ERA+ 185 level in five seasons: Martinez, R. Johnson, and W. Johnson. Two finished there or above in four seasons: Maddux and Lefty Grove. Clemens is alone in recording a 185+ ERA in three seasons.

  9. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Everyone always ignores the 19th Century. Amos Rusie had a 189 in 1894, and Clark Griffith 190 in 1898.

    It was also done a few times in the 1880s, but I do like to draw a line in 1893 when the mound was moved back.

  10. DmbCubFan wanted pitchers whose stats didn't severely drop from 1968 to 1969.
    Juan Marichal's ERA went from 2.43 to 2.10. Steve Carlton's went from 2.99 to 2.17.
    Tom Seaver saw essentially no change, 2.20 to 2.21. Larry Dierker, huge improvement, 3.31 to 2.33.
    Gaylord Perry didn't change much, 2.44 to 2.49. Phil Niekro improved a hair, 2.59 to 2.56.
    And that's just the NL.

    Of course, ERA overall went up from 1968 to 1969, but not a few pitchers managed to swim against the tide.

  11. To add to gerry's point. There were 16 pitchers who qualified for the ERA title in 1968 and 1969 and had a lower ERA in the second year. Two pitchers stayed the same. Here is the list.

    1968 1969 Change
    Larry Dierker 3.31 2.33 -0.98
    Jim Maloney 3.61 2.77 -0.84
    Steve Carlton 2.99 2.17 -0.82
    Joe Niekro 4.32 3.7 -0.62
    Bill Singer 2.88 2.34 -0.54
    Claude Osteen 3.09 2.66 -0.43
    Bill Hands 2.89 2.49 -0.4
    Mike Cuellar 2.74 2.38 -0.36
    Jim McGlothlin 3.54 3.18 -0.36
    Juan Marichal 2.43 2.1 -0.33
    Mike McCormick 3.58 3.34 -0.24
    Dave Boswell 3.32 3.23 -0.09
    Fritz Peterson 2.63 2.55 -0.08
    Mickey Lolich 3.19 3.14 -0.05
    Phil Niekro 2.59 2.56 -0.03
    Catfish Hunter 3.35 3.35 0
    Joe Coleman 3.27 3.27 0