Comments on: Tough Loss Leaders Since 1920 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Johnny Twisto Thu, 20 Jan 2011 16:26:36 +0000 Dan, what do you mean? If you're going by Steve's definition, Felix didn't have any tough losses (there were only two in MLB all season, see my post #6). If you're going by B-R's definition, he had 8, most in the AL. By Bill James's definition, he had 6, tied for the most in the AL.

By: Dan Thu, 20 Jan 2011 11:30:47 +0000 I thought Nolan Ryan would have been higher, just due to the amount of games pitched, plus being on some pretty bad teams.

With all the press about Felix Hernandez 13-12 W-L record this year, he only had 1 Tough Loss.

By: Kahuna Tuna Thu, 20 Jan 2011 05:18:34 +0000 Sorry about the "=8"s in that previous post. What I meant to write, using the greater-than and less-than symbols, was "less than or equal to three [earned runs]/greater than or equal to eight [innings pitched]." I forgot that those symbols are also HTML formatting commands.

By: Kahuna Tuna Thu, 20 Jan 2011 05:12:49 +0000 the losing pitcher in an away game gets a complete game for pitching 8 innings, which can still be a "tough loss."

If you expand the search to "Pitcher Lost, Complete Game, (requiring IPouts>=24 and ER<=3), sorted by greatest number of games in all seasons," Lyons still leads with 57, followed by Perry with 51, Walters and Blyleven with 47, Ruffing with 45, Spahn and Ryan with 44, Niekro with 43, Roberts and Luque with 42, Gibson with 41, and Leonard with 40.

Two notes:

1. Jim Tobin had 33 such losses . . . out of 112 career losses. Tobin (29.5%) and Bucky Walters (47/160, 29.4%) had the highest percentage of =8 CG losses that I was able to find. Blyleven is at a very unremarkable 18.8% (47/250).

2. Walter Johnson had 23 tough-luck (=8) CG losses in the years for which B-R has game logs (1920-27). It's impossible to be certain of CGs in earlier seasons, of course, but from a quick dip into Washington's 1908-19 game scores at Retrosheet, I estimate a minimum of 35 more tough-luck CG losses for Johnson, and a maximum of 81 more. He'll lead this list handily when (if?) all the data is assembled.

By: Steve S. Wed, 19 Jan 2011 20:04:20 +0000 Tmckelv @ 10: I said what I meant, but reading your post and the stats on Morris's Lucky Wins, and thinking about it more, I realize I said only half of what I meant!

Barkie @34 got my point regarding Morris's reputation of "pitching to the scoreboard". Such a pitcher would be expected to be on *both* the list of "Lucky" Wins and the list of Wins when the other guy got a tough loss.

If such a pitcher existed.

At the height of Morris's notoriety as, supposedly, such a pitcher (probably right around 1990), I did a study (never published) involving him and about 10 others who started 30 games or more one season. First I sorted all the innings begun by the pitcher in question based on the score when the pitcher took the mound (e.g., tied, trailing by 1 run, leading by 4, etc.). Then I summed across all the innings in each category to compile the ERA of each pitcher in each situation.

If the Morris-defenders were correct, you'd expect his ERA to be lower in close games and for his ERA to increase as his team's lead increased.

Wanna guess the outcome? Absolutely no evidence that any pitcher's performance varied in any predictable way according to the score at the start of an inning.

Big surprise.

By: Martin Milner Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:08:18 +0000 Neat list, but does not take into account that the losing pitcher in an away game gets a complete game for pitching 8 innings, which can still be a "tough loss".

By: mr.baseballcard Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:26:11 +0000 Wow. After reading so many posts about the newest HoFer Bert Cryleven, I thought for sure Bert would have been at the top of this list. Apparently other pitchers also have tough-luck losses and still keep their winning percentage above .534. Who'd of thunk it?

By: Kahuna Tuna Wed, 19 Jan 2011 15:24:55 +0000 Play Index reports that the most losses of 8+ IP and 2 runs or less (1920-present) belong to Robin Roberts with 37

And nine of those losses were to the Giants. Twice, in games ten years apart, Willie Mays hit a solo homer to beat him 2-1.

By: barkie Wed, 19 Jan 2011 13:29:05 +0000 Re: Jack Morris

I think it began as an homage to his reputation as one who "pitched to the scoreboard".

Many on this board hate this phrase, but for those of us who watched Morris a lot, it certainly seemed there was something to it.

For those unfamiliar: a pitcher who pitches to the scoreboard is a slacker who just manages to keep the opposition to a lower run total than his own. These guys are said to be able to bear down in tight games, and tend to care less about mental lapses when the lead is greater.

Additionally, "scoreboard pitchers" have a reputation as one whose accomplishments are not easily defined by stats. They are, pitchers of contrast.

By: John Autin Wed, 19 Jan 2011 08:04:26 +0000 Back to the official topic:

-- Play Index reports that the most losses of 8+ IP and 2 runs or less (1920-present) belong to Robin Roberts with 37; Gaylord Perry is 2nd with 30.