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Most Cheap Wins Since 1920

Posted by Steve Lombardi on November 14, 2010

Bill James says that it's a “Cheap Win” when a starting pitcher wins a game where his Game Score was under 50. So, what pitchers have the most "Cheap Wins" since 1920?

Here's the answer:

Rk Player #Matching   W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 Jamie Moyer 58 Ind. Games 58 0 1.000 5.42 58 0 0 0 345.1 434 208 65 106 200 1.56
2 Earl Whitehill 54 Ind. Games 54 0 1.000 5.42 54 26 0 0 428.1 567 258 24 190 143 1.77
3 Kenny Rogers 50 Ind. Games 50 0 1.000 5.11 50 0 0 0 297.2 386 169 30 119 153 1.70
4 Andy Pettitte 48 Ind. Games 48 0 1.000 5.45 48 1 0 0 298.2 390 181 44 112 175 1.68
5 Mel Harder 48 Ind. Games 48 0 1.000 5.26 48 16 0 0 364.1 496 213 25 139 120 1.74
6 Red Ruffing 43 Ind. Games 43 0 1.000 5.38 43 21 0 0 322.2 429 193 20 137 120 1.75
7 Tom Glavine 43 Ind. Games 43 0 1.000 5.06 43 0 0 0 261.1 358 147 20 96 123 1.74
8 Jack Morris 42 Ind. Games 42 0 1.000 6.15 42 2 0 0 284.0 355 194 46 95 143 1.58
9 Greg Maddux 42 Ind. Games 42 0 1.000 5.48 42 0 0 0 251.1 340 153 35 53 138 1.56
10 Mike Mussina 39 Ind. Games 39 0 1.000 5.90 39 0 0 0 236.1 322 155 47 65 149 1.64
11 Tom Zachary 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 4.89 38 17 0 0 270.2 367 147 17 87 56 1.68
12 Tim Wakefield 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 6.01 38 0 0 0 218.2 271 146 38 85 138 1.63
13 Herb Pennock 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 5.56 38 19 0 0 294.2 434 182 19 52 93 1.65
14 Dennis Martinez 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 5.86 38 2 0 0 236.1 315 154 43 63 114 1.60
15 Lefty Grove 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 5.13 38 21 0 0 291.1 378 166 14 114 151 1.69
16 Freddie Fitzsimmons 38 Ind. Games 38 0 1.000 4.94 38 11 0 0 277.0 371 152 23 98 60 1.69
17 Wes Ferrell 36 Ind. Games 36 0 1.000 5.09 36 26 0 0 300.1 411 170 18 125 103 1.78
18 David Wells 35 Ind. Games 35 0 1.000 5.82 35 0 0 0 205.2 299 133 36 52 121 1.71
19 Jeff Suppan 35 Ind. Games 35 0 1.000 5.40 35 0 0 0 213.1 262 128 31 68 101 1.55
20 Jim Kaat 35 Ind. Games 35 0 1.000 5.40 35 2 0 0 228.1 308 137 39 42 116 1.53
21 Livan Hernandez 35 Ind. Games 35 0 1.000 5.49 35 0 0 0 224.2 297 137 26 82 107 1.69
22 Burleigh Grimes 35 Ind. Games 35 0 1.000 5.00 35 27 0 0 297.0 417 165 16 105 98 1.76
23 Ted Lyons 34 Ind. Games 34 0 1.000 5.00 34 28 0 0 293.2 401 163 15 106 90 1.73
24 Jon Garland 34 Ind. Games 34 0 1.000 5.80 34 0 0 0 204.2 260 132 31 69 87 1.61
25 Aaron Sele 33 Ind. Games 33 0 1.000 5.33 33 0 0 0 192.1 237 114 21 77 111 1.63
26 Rick Reuschel 33 Ind. Games 33 0 1.000 4.84 33 1 0 0 213.2 279 115 23 77 99 1.67
27 Tommy John 33 Ind. Games 33 0 1.000 4.26 33 2 0 0 215.2 289 102 19 54 83 1.59
28 Rick Sutcliffe 32 Ind. Games 32 0 1.000 6.01 32 0 0 0 199.1 258 133 30 102 113 1.81
29 Jesse Haines 32 Ind. Games 32 0 1.000 4.84 32 20 0 0 252.2 348 136 18 76 59 1.68
30 Roger Clemens 32 Ind. Games 32 0 1.000 6.24 32 0 0 0 197.2 251 137 27 88 171 1.72
31 Mike Torrez 31 Ind. Games 31 0 1.000 4.69 31 0 0 0 195.2 233 102 11 99 88 1.70
32 Frank Tanana 31 Ind. Games 31 0 1.000 5.36 31 0 0 0 196.1 258 117 41 56 110 1.60
33 Ray Kremer 31 Ind. Games 31 0 1.000 4.98 31 17 0 0 249.1 329 138 27 70 56 1.60
34 Robin Roberts 30 Ind. Games 30 0 1.000 5.32 30 17 0 0 243.2 314 144 44 41 92 1.46
35 Sad Sam Jones 30 Ind. Games 30 0 1.000 5.08 30 13 0 0 230.1 300 130 10 84 57 1.67
36 Freddy Garcia 30 Ind. Games 30 0 1.000 5.26 30 1 0 0 179.2 234 105 34 59 115 1.63
37 Don Sutton 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.81 29 1 0 0 176.2 244 114 28 45 118 1.64
38 Paul Splittorff 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.31 29 0 0 0 188.0 241 111 15 53 67 1.56
39 Warren Spahn 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.21 29 9 0 0 214.1 282 124 27 83 81 1.70
40 Scott Sanderson 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 4.87 29 0 0 0 159.0 218 86 17 39 87 1.62
41 Joe Niekro 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 4.55 29 1 0 0 192.0 267 97 12 53 82 1.67
42 Charles Nagy 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.73 29 0 0 0 177.1 239 113 32 46 107 1.61
43 Esteban Loaiza 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.94 29 0 0 0 172.2 229 114 30 51 115 1.62
44 Pat Hentgen 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.37 29 1 0 0 184.1 226 110 29 63 93 1.57
45 General Crowder 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.45 29 14 0 0 226.1 298 137 15 81 68 1.67
46 John Burkett 29 Ind. Games 29 0 1.000 5.49 29 0 0 0 175.1 244 107 24 47 97 1.66
47 Javier Vazquez 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 5.85 28 0 0 0 161.2 210 105 30 59 118 1.66
48 Mike Moore 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 4.79 28 2 0 0 178.1 208 95 22 82 79 1.63
49 Randy Johnson 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 6.31 28 0 0 0 164.0 202 115 28 80 160 1.72
50 Willis Hudlin 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 5.02 28 16 0 0 227.2 313 127 11 63 40 1.65
51 Bump Hadley 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 5.51 28 7 0 0 217.1 268 133 20 110 89 1.74
52 Bob Forsch 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 5.00 28 3 0 0 181.2 227 101 19 56 56 1.56
53 Paul Derringer 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 4.83 28 15 0 0 219.2 306 118 13 47 61 1.61
54 Bartolo Colon 28 Ind. Games 28 0 1.000 5.99 28 0 0 0 168.1 223 112 31 65 130 1.71
55 Bobby Witt 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 6.30 27 0 0 0 158.2 197 111 22 88 123 1.80
56 Eppa Rixey 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 5.40 27 10 0 0 205.0 282 123 2 54 45 1.64
57 Jim Perry 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 4.92 27 1 0 0 175.2 223 96 24 63 68 1.63
58 Phil Niekro 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 5.19 27 1 0 0 178.2 226 103 21 78 85 1.70
59 Derek Lowe 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 6.21 27 0 0 0 153.2 196 106 26 43 92 1.56
60 Vern Kennedy 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 5.38 27 17 0 0 224.0 272 134 23 117 71 1.74
61 Mike Hampton 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 5.46 27 0 0 0 171.1 222 104 21 74 88 1.73
62 Scott Erickson 27 Ind. Games 27 0 1.000 5.18 27 0 0 0 170.1 231 98 16 70 74 1.77
63 George Uhle 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 4.92 26 13 0 0 201.1 271 110 8 67 56 1.68
64 Steve Trachsel 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.51 26 0 0 0 152.0 182 93 25 72 79 1.67
65 Bob Tewksbury 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.16 26 0 0 0 162.1 222 93 15 25 72 1.52
66 Pat Rapp 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 4.89 26 0 0 0 149.0 190 81 13 69 80 1.74
67 Darren Oliver 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.04 26 0 0 0 151.2 198 85 22 64 83 1.73
68 Jack McDowell 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.93 26 0 0 0 165.1 217 109 24 51 108 1.62
69 Vern Law 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.60 26 4 0 0 181.2 234 113 39 37 90 1.49
70 Waite Hoyt 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.28 26 12 0 0 202.2 266 119 9 58 43 1.60
71 Ken Holtzman 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 4.90 26 1 0 0 170.2 243 93 21 59 63 1.77
72 Red Faber 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.03 26 16 0 0 211.0 289 118 14 72 68 1.71
73 Ron Darling 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.03 26 0 0 0 159.1 198 89 16 57 94 1.60
74 Tom Browning 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.93 26 0 0 0 147.1 205 97 24 44 64 1.69
75 Bert Blyleven 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 4.90 26 0 0 0 161.2 209 88 15 51 97 1.61
76 Kevin Appier 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.84 26 0 0 0 152.2 202 99 21 59 88 1.71
77 Doyle Alexander 26 Ind. Games 26 0 1.000 5.19 26 0 0 0 164.2 212 95 20 51 66 1.60
78 Early Wynn 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.22 25 4 0 0 181.0 228 105 20 81 91 1.71
79 Kevin Tapani 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.79 25 0 0 0 155.1 224 100 24 36 95 1.67
80 Todd Stottlemyre 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.99 25 0 0 0 138.1 187 92 17 65 84 1.82
81 Tom Seaver 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.32 25 0 0 0 159.0 198 94 20 64 99 1.65
82 Dutch Ruether 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.18 25 12 0 0 196.1 262 113 9 84 57 1.76
83 Fergie Jenkins 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.94 25 3 0 0 175.2 237 116 36 47 115 1.62
84 Bruce Hurst 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.25 25 0 0 0 152.2 206 89 14 66 87 1.78
85 Charlie Hough 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.20 25 0 0 0 162.2 188 94 34 66 82 1.56
86 Bill Gullickson 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.42 25 0 0 0 152.2 186 92 24 39 66 1.47
87 Bob Feller 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.90 25 9 0 0 193.2 239 127 22 106 98 1.78
88 Dennis Eckersley 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.30 25 0 0 0 158.0 199 93 24 54 91 1.60
89 Rip Collins 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.26 25 9 0 0 188.1 230 110 12 98 67 1.74
90 Tim Belcher 25 Ind. Games 25 0 1.000 5.33 25 0 0 0 152.0 189 90 21 58 89 1.63
91 Woody Williams 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.89 24 0 0 0 143.2 183 94 24 52 78 1.64
92 Dave Stewart 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.07 24 0 0 0 147.1 182 83 19 67 77 1.69
93 Hal Schumacher 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 4.78 24 5 0 0 171.1 212 91 16 79 56 1.70
94 Camilo Pascual 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.08 24 1 0 0 159.1 206 90 15 52 118 1.62
95 Jim Palmer 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.18 24 0 0 0 161.2 196 93 17 70 79 1.65
96 Doc Medich 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.38 24 1 0 0 150.2 200 90 18 60 62 1.73
97 Scott McGregor 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 4.77 24 0 0 0 154.2 208 82 22 39 62 1.60
98 Jon Lieber 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.38 24 0 0 0 144.0 211 86 13 25 98 1.64
99 Adam Eaton 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 6.27 24 0 0 0 136.1 167 95 31 59 93 1.66
100 Stan Coveleski 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 4.56 24 14 0 0 189.1 254 96 8 55 38 1.63
101 Paul Byrd 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 4.81 24 0 0 0 144.0 193 77 27 28 63 1.53
102 Mark Buehrle 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 4.98 24 0 0 0 153.2 209 85 18 36 77 1.59
103 Jack Billingham 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.21 24 0 0 0 157.1 211 91 15 58 53 1.71
104 Elden Auker 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.61 24 13 0 0 183.0 231 114 16 75 56 1.67
105 Pedro Astacio 24 Ind. Games 24 0 1.000 5.41 24 0 0 0 148.0 183 89 25 61 95 1.65
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/14/2010.

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Well, this isn't going to help Andy Pettitte's Hall of Fame chances, is it? (And, I'm a raving fan of his, to be candid.) Then again, check out Glavine, Morris, Maddux and Mussina here too. Should this be factored in when discussing Cooperstown for them as well?

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 14th, 2010 at 4:49 pm and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

33 Responses to “Most Cheap Wins Since 1920”

  1. Still, Maddux has 313 solid wins. Great pitchers somehow find a way to win in games when they are not their best. That would speak to the number of HOF's on the list. A win is a win is a win.

  2. The second I saw the headline, I knew Moyer would be close to the top. Love it.

  3. Kenh,

    This stat does not speak to some magical ability to win when not at your best. All this stat does is once again show the inadequacy of WINS as an individual stat. Number of WINS is a relevant stat for measuring teams. However, it is nonsensical to use WINS to measure pitchers. The reason so many great pitchers are included in this list is largely a by product of being good enough to pitch a lot of games and being good enough that their manager has a slower hook. The credit for cheap wins is rightly given to the offense that scored enough to overcome a poor performance by the starting pitcher.

  4. Distribution of Game Scores is heavily dependent on offensive environment. Not surprising to see many names from the current, high-offense era, and that of the 1920s-30s, and few from the low-offense 1960s.

    Also not surprising to see a lot of pitchers from very good hitting teams.

  5. Is there an inverse of this stat as well? Hard luck losses or something? It'd be interesting to see pitchers with high game scores who took Ls (or maybe just failed to get a W). Some guys may be on both lists and we could look at the net gain or loss.

  6. I sorted the chart by ERA and thought it was interesting to see the range of 4.26 for Tommy John to 6.31 for Randy Johnson. Certainly a couple different kinds of guys from high hit and/or low K guys like John or Joe Niekro who can put up a lower Game Score without necessarily putting up large ER totals to guys with high ER totals in these games that were likely getting a lot of help from their teammates in these games. In his 33 starts Tommy John averaged 6.54 IP and 3.09 ER, just barely missing averaging a quality start.

    For some of the older guys when bullpen use and strikeouts were both uncommon the Game Score is probably a less meaningful statistic, as is the concept of a Cheap Win.

    The high number of HOF pitchers on this list is likely primarily a factor of it being a counting stat which is biased toward pitchers with longer careers. If you limit yourself to pitchers with careers of longer than 10 or 15 years you will end up with a much higher percentage of HOF members than the general population. Also, as many would argue, the HOF itself is biased toward pitchers with high Win totals as opposed to guys who achieved superior game scores.

  7. BSK @5

    See "Tough Losses" ("LTuf"). It is one of the stats available here in the starting pitching section of a player page when you click on the more pitching stats tab.

  8. Considering how many great pitchers and Hall of Famers are on this list, maybe it's just not that telling of a statistic. It could just be that any pitcher who stays in the game long enough racks up a lot of them.

  9. A lot of these guys with high ERA's are "workhorse" types. The manager has to leave them for 5 IP for them to be eligible for the victory.

    Who of the above as the best WPct in GameScore<50 games? The highest I could find is Kenny Rogers at .325 (50-104).

    The record for most GameScore<50 losses since 1920... looks like its Nolan Ryan at 159, against only 10 Cheap Wins. That's a .059 WPct which is also the lowest I could find hunting and pecking.

  10. Morten Jonsson Says:

    What Gerry said. The more runs on average, the lower the game scores, and thus the more cheap wins. This list tells us nothing at all about how good, or lucky, the pitchers on it are. Other factors reflected on this list:

    A lot of total wins--some number of those will be cheap wins, no matter who you are.
    Low strikeouts
    A low number of innings pitched per start

    Jamie Moyer has all four of those factors working for him--it shouldn't be any surprise to see him at the top of the list. Or any of the recent 200- and 300-game winners, might strike out a lot of batters but don't pitch a lot of per start. Or those from the twenties and thirties, who did pitch a lot of innings but didn't strike out many batters by current standards.

    Bill James never meant game scores to be a serious metric. They're fun, but there are a lot better ways of measuring pitching.

  11. The statistic I referenced @7 as being available on this site uses a different definition for a Cheap WIn or a Tough Loss. It defines them based upon the Quality Start statistic (6 IP or more 3 ER or fewer). Win with no QS = Cheap Win, Loss with a QS = Tough Loss.

    A quick google search seems to suggest that the Tough Loss definition used by BR is Bill James' definition.

  12. What an incredible thread!

    "crafty lefties" (and righties) finally get their due.

    Great job, Steve!

  13. Maybe we should look at the percentage of GS<50 games won.

  14. ...or as a percentage of wins, at the least.

  15. I picked a select few active/recent pitchers and looked at their cheap wins vs tough losses from the players pitching pages:

    Andy Pettitte 48 - 38
    Mike Mussina 48 - 43
    Jamie Moyer 64 - 60
    Greg Maddux 64 - 88
    Roger Clemens 46 - 65
    Randy Johnson 41 - 60
    Tom Glavine 42 - 66

    Ok it's not an exact science but by this measure Pettitte and Mussina don't compare with the likes of Glavine, Johnson, Clemens and Maddux. Then again maybe it just shows they played a lot of their career on strong offensive teams which makes it more likely for them to get a cheap win and less likely for them to get a tough loss??

  16. Basmati,

    I wonder where Pedro Martinez comes in on there. In 2000, he had a better ERA in his losses than any other pitcher in baseball had period.

  17. "Then again, check out Glavine, Morris, Maddux and Mussina here too. Should this be factored in when discussing Cooperstown for them as well?"

    We have to discuss Greg Maddux's Hall of Fame bid?

  18. Morten Jonsson Says:

    If you want a simple way to measure which pitchers have been lucky or unlucky, try comparing ERA+ to winning percentage. Game scores are almost useless for that purpose. If Jamie Moyer goes 6 2/3 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 runs (all earned), and 2 walks, while striking out 4 (game score 48), and wins, that's a cheap win. But if Nolan Ryan goes 8 innings, allowing 6 hits, 4 runs (all earned), and 5 walks, while striking out 11 (game score 60), and loses, that's a tough loss. Does that make any sense? Ryan was more impressive, but Moyer pitched better--he deserved to win, and Ryan didn't. We all know that won-loss record isn't a great gauge of how well someone's pitched. Well, congratulations--you've found an even worse one.

    I'm not saying, by the way, that Moyer was in Ryan's league; that was just a convenient example. Clearly Ryan was a greater pitcher. But game scores exaggerate just how great he was. Bill James designed them as a way to highlight really impressive games--low-hit, high-strikeout games. Ryan's specialty. His average game score for his career was 60, which is phenomenal--the same as Tom Seaver, higher than Roger Clemens. But he really wasn't in their class. Not by any meaningful standard.

  19. Good stuff #18. I agree. As much as people want to harp on wins being a bad metric to gauge starters, there's really no other substitution despite pleas from others. WHIP is a decent stat, but it too isn't necessarily better than wins. Some pitchers can have high WHIPs but win a lot of games. When it comes to pitchers you just have to look at more numbers. Period.

    Wins are overrated, but they are also underrated. They are one useful metric along with many other useful metrics. Game score is perhaps a worse metric than wins. Lets leave it at that. In fact, perhaps the best metric for pitchers is WAR, but again, WARs can vary a lot from formula to formula.....and, this varies even more with pitchers.

  20. Very interesting to see some of the complete game totals for some of the pitchers on this list. Lefty Grove, Wes Farrell, Robin Roberts, Ted Lyons (and a few others) had over 50% complete games in their "cheap wins" starts. Bert Blyleven had zero.

  21. To discuss what makes a good or a very good or a great or an extraordinary pitcher is always interesting.

    There are pitchers with impressive strikout totals.........but I don t believe that they are necesaarily better then pitchers who throw sinkers and induce a lot of gorundballs. Tommy John who is on theis years s HOF VC ballot was a sinkerball pitcher, I htink he was a very good and at stages in his career......a great pitcher, and I think he belongs in the HOF.

    in 1963 at age 42, Warren Spahn was 23 and 7, and struck out 102 men, hhos 13th and last 20 win season..........Clearly he didnt have the same stuff as he once had had,,,,but he was still a big winner

    For me a test of greatness, I mean HOF greatenss is durabiltiy.....There are exceptions....Koufax of coursese..and pitchers who had their careers interrupted by wars.......(Feller who lasted 17, Spahn who lasted 21..........) but if a pitcher lasts 16 or 18 or 20 years and most or all of those years as a starter, that says something about him. And there are exceptions, Mike Morgan comes to mind!

    And with surability come innings and with innings come wins...and losses. Pitchers dont pitch 3000 innings or more if they dont have the goods....

    .
    .

    There are in my mind a lot of very good to great pitchers...(Cuelar, McNally, Hersheiser, Cone come to mind.......
    ..

    .

  22. I usually enjoy Steve's posts, but I think this is a clear misuse of Game Scores.

    Among the many weak points of Game Scores, they are of little to no value for comparisons across different eras and different offensive contexts. This of course extends to any stat derived from raw Game Scores, such as the definition of a "Tough Loss" used above.

    It's not only the general offensive context of different eras that biases Game Scores; it's also the vast difference in K rates. For example, in 1920, the MLB average was 2.9 K/9; in 2010, it was 7.1 -- an increase of 143%. A pitcher who averaged 4.8 K/9 in 1920 would have led the majors; in 2010, that pitcher would be in danger of losing his job.

    The more I see Game Scores misused, the more I wish the stat would just go away entirely. Not everything that sprang from the mind of Bill James is pure gold.

  23. Correction to my post @22 --
    I should have said, "... such as the definition of a 'Cheap Win' used above."

  24. M. Scott Eiland Says:

    Has anyone ever done a year by year comparison of average Game Scores for MLB? With starters throwing less innings per start on average than ever, combined with the high offense era that is now apparently just ending, I would expect them to be coming out of an all time low period.

  25. @24 -- In terms of average Game Score, the higher scoring and shorter outings of the modern era are at least partly offset by the K rate, which is at an all-time high.

  26. Largebill: I wasn't inferring that these guys had a magical ability. They just know how to pitch through not having their best stuff. sometimes that results in a win, sometimes not. In addition to great skill, the guys on this list have durability which may be the first thing you want out of a pitcher. It saves the bullpen and keeps a manager's hair its natural color.

  27. Anybody who says they didn't immediately search for the names "Morris" and "Blyleven" is clearly lying.

  28. I don't think anybody really needed to search, Zachary.

    "Bill James never meant game scores to be a serious metric."

    Bill James didn't intend anything he did to be taken seriously.

  29. James was sincere in what he wrote, to my knowledge. But his metrics are commonly misused. Like HOF Standard & HOF Monitor. These measures are for what is commonly HOF material or likelihood of election. They are not supposed to consider how worthy a guy is, what his adjusted #s are, & which stats are meaningful.

    Similarly, it would be helpful if all of these articles considered context. Like reporting who is the best at something...adjusted for their context. Post %s, or total chances. NOT just the raw lists. Just counting up what a guy did in any environment or any length career says little.

    Just like wins & losses say little in discerning how good or bad a pitcher is. i do not believe Mr. Jonsson remotely meant to defend them by critiquing the use of games score. Wins are historically & still overrated. Not the opposite. Yes, you have to look at more #s to determine quality for exactingly. And wins have SOME correlation to good pitching, because good pitching helps win.

    But wins vary massively by era, runs support, IP, what is done after you leave a game/how a potential save goes, etc...Wins are worse than simple stats like ERA+, even ERA, WHIP, WAR, tons of advanced total stats like adjusted pitching wins & runs. We cannot just average traditional & more scientific stats & say that they all have equal, or even similar use, in determining value.

    As almost all here understand.

    Separately, my Avatar must be the king of tough losses. Only Cy Young, due to dwarfing everyone in IP, could certainly exceed him.

  30. Another reason Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame. He isn't on the list. Morris is near the top.

  31. Whoops. He is there....with 26. But that's 75th on this list and way less than Morris. Okay, I feel stupid.

  32. This only as meaningful as game score, so not much. If you check the formula, you are deducting 4 points for an earned run and 2 points for an unearned run....which presumes the ratio is in correct proportion to the pitchers responsibility. Why would it be? You get a point for a strikeout. Why is a strikeout better than a groundout? It's a silly formula.

    Also, this is a list of guys who pretty much all pitched a lot of games. No big surprise that someone like Greg Maddux won 42 games out of hundreds he started with some luck and big run support to get a win. He probably had 50 or more losses in games where his ERA would average out to under 2.00.

  33. This does not take into account guys "pitching to the game situation". Suppose the score is 8-2 in the 5th inning. Don Sutton knows that the Braves can only get back into the game if he walks a bunch of people. So he doesn't pitch Dale Murphy as carefully as he usually would. He takes a feast of famine approach when Murphy comes to the plate. He puts the ball over the heart of the plate. He's hoping for a strikeout, willing to put up with a solo homerun but absolutely isn't going to give any free passes. Murphy homers that inning. Rafael Rameriz homers under similar circumstances in the 7th and Sutton leaves. The Dodgers win 8-4 and Sutton gets a "cheap" win.