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Thursday, August 11, 2022

SI:Is Nationals Starter Patrick Corbin Having the Worst Pitching Season Ever?

Let’s start with the most obvious statistic—not the most illuminating, or the most informative, but the most straightforward. And it has good news for Corbin! He is not particularly likely to finish with the worst ERA ever in MLB. That dubious honor has long belonged to Les Sweetland and his 7.71 ERA for the 1930 Phillies…

Which is very bad for Corbin. Adjusted for his time and place, no one has been worse: His 56 ERA+ is tied for the lowest of all time. (He shares the title with Rube Bressler of the 1915 Philadelphia A’s, who later stopped pitching and enjoyed a career of more than a decade as a first baseman and left fielder.)

the conclusion seems to be, maybe not the worst, but it’s down there

Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 02:20 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: corbin, nats

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6091306)
the conclusion seems to be, maybe not the worst, but it’s down there



He still has plenty of time to claim it! On July 4th he pitched a gem to get his ERA down to 5.68. Now it's 7.02 and he's been KO'd in the first inning two of his last three starts. If he can maintain this new level of performance, he can do it (though the Nationals might pull the plug if he's too awful).
   2. John Northey Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6091316)
He can take heart in Roy Halladay - in 2000 he had a 10.64 ERA (48 ERA+) before the Jays said 'that is it' and sent him to A ball with a dedicated pitching coach. 13 starts, 5 relief games over 67 2/3 IP allowing 80 ER and 7 unearned runs. Only twice in his career did he allow that many runs - both when he threw over 225 innings and was either the Cy winner or top 5. Of course, he was only 23 when he had that disaster season and Corbin is 32 - a pretty big difference.

As a stats fan I hope Washington keeps him going out there all year so he can crack 20 losses (at 16 now) and take away Brian Kingman's claim to fame (last 20 game loser in 1980 which at the time wasn't an oddity as Phil Niekro had done it in 1979 and 1977 with many others doing it in the 70's). Oops, just checked and saw Mike Maroth lost 21 in 2003 with that terrible Tigers team. Still would be the first in a long time.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6091317)
Of course, he was only 23 when he had that disaster season and Corbin is 32 - a pretty big difference.


Big is still an understatement.

Thankfully, Maroth doesn't go around reverse Dolphining the 20-loss mark the way Kingman did.
   4. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:45 PM (#6091318)
He still has plenty of time to claim it! On July 4th he pitched a gem to get his ERA down to 5.68. Now it's 7.02 and he's been KO'd in the first inning two of his last three starts. If he can maintain this new level of performance, he can do it (though the Nationals might pull the plug if he's too awful).
I'm willing to wager Davey will find a way not to put Corbin in the position of zooming past Sweetland.
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:24 PM (#6091336)
That 1930 Phillies team had an ERA of 6.71. 1930 was the best year for hitters in the 20th Century; the Phillies hit .315 as a team, but their OPS+ was only 93...
   6. kcgard2 Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:30 PM (#6091338)
Jose Lima in 2000 had an impressively bad season, much worse than Corbin's by FIP, FWIW.
   7. kcgard2 Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:33 PM (#6091339)
In 2005, both Lima (again!) and Eric Milton laid huge eggs. Actually, Corbin's season by FIP isn't anything remarkable. By ERA it definitely is. These are the first two guys I thought to compare against.
   8. kcgard2 Posted: August 11, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6091342)
Arroyo in 2017 only had 71 IP, but he was as bad as Corbin or probably worse. Add Homer Bailey 2017 and 2018 together. You know what...just go look at various Reds teams from the past 20 years and you get ALL KINDS of candidates for this nomination.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 05:19 PM (#6091351)
1930 was the best year for hitters in the 20th Century; the Phillies hit .315 as a team, but their OPS+ was only 93...

Adjusting for the Baker Bowl takes a lot of the air out of their numbers, but even without that it wasn't that great as the entire 1930 National League batted .303.
   10. Rally Posted: August 14, 2022 at 10:34 AM (#6091558)
Article isn’t clear, but I think they mean worse ERA among those who qualify for the ERA trailerboard. Right now the Nats have played 115 games and he has only 110 innings. If he keeps getting shelled, he won;t have the innings, if he gets the innings, it probably means he’s pitching better and his ERA drops.
   11. BDC Posted: August 14, 2022 at 02:53 PM (#6091583)
Still a better ERA than Colby Lewis' 7.30 in 2003, though that was good for a 69 ERA+ and Lewis famously had a winning record at 10-9. Corbin is at a much more indicative 4-16.

W/L record doesn't mean much and perhaps means less all the time as starter outings get shorter. Still, I am getting concerned about the Rangers' Dane Dunning, who has won just two of his 22 starts this season. Dunning hasn't pitched badly at all (4.12 ERA, 4.10 FIP) but just hasn't been in the right place in the box score (the Rangers are 7-15 in his starts and have scored 3.3 runs per 27 outs for him).

I wondered on Discord whether 2 wins in 22 starts would be a record for a full season. It would not; in 1980 Ross Baumgarten had 2 wins in 23. (Anthony Young had 1 win in 23 starts over two seasons 1992-93.) And Dunning only has 6 Losses. But still, pitching in some bad luck there.
   12. MariaKarishma Posted: September 13, 2022 at 06:02 AM (#6095919)
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   13. TomH Posted: September 13, 2022 at 09:21 AM (#6095926)
you can write fun 1930 Phillies stats all day.

Chuck Klein hit .386 with 59 doubles, 8 triples, and 40 home runs.
He scored 158 runs and drove in 170. That is a total of 328 R+RBI, which is the fourth highest in MLB history.
(B Ruth, H Wilson, L Gehrig hold the top 3)

In 77 home games, Klein drove in ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT runs.

And they won 52 games. Klein is credited with 28 Bill James Win Shares for 1930, which is tied for 13th-16th among position players for that year.
   14. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 13, 2022 at 09:23 AM (#6095927)
Corbin is down to 6.30 (62 ERA+) in 28 starts and 141.1 innings - just barely on pace to qualify. 3.73 ERA in his last 5 starts since this was posted. Sweetland can breathe a sigh of relief ....

But 20 losses is still at play. He's at 18 and is scheduled to start tomorrow.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2022 at 10:26 AM (#6095931)
In 2005, both Lima (again!) and Eric Milton laid huge eggs. Actually, Corbin's season by FIP isn't anything remarkable. By ERA it definitely is. These are the first two guys I thought to compare against.

When you're truly dreadful, FIP doesn't always capture it. When Chien-Ming Wang imploded in 2009, his FIP was "only" 5.38, but than was only because hitters were lashing line drives on every other pitch. He was so hittable (14.1 H/9) that no one was waiting around for a BB.
   16. Baldrick Posted: September 13, 2022 at 10:42 AM (#6095932)
Pretty impressive to lead the league in losses in consecutive seasons.

Jeremy Guthrie led the league in losses in 2009 and 2011, and lost 14 in the intervening year. But he was basically average in those two years and actually very good in 2010. Just had the misfortune of pitching for the Orioles.

And if you go back a ways, Pedro Ramos led the league in losses for four straight years (from 1958 to 1961)! And his WAR over those four years: 13.1! That's some bad luck.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6095934)
Pretty impressive to lead the league in losses in consecutive seasons.

Phil Niekro did it four straight years while putting up 30 WAR!!!!
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 13, 2022 at 05:19 PM (#6095984)
Phil Niekro did it four straight years while putting up 30 WAR!!!!

Also still had winning records in two of the four seasons, which is impressive in its own way.
   19. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: September 13, 2022 at 06:40 PM (#6096000)
I seem to remember that Oliver Perez was widely regarded as a very bad pitcher.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2022 at 07:03 PM (#6096002)
I seem to remember that Oliver Perez was widely regarded as a very bad pitcher.

He was roller coaster ride. We was a very good starter, then a very bad starter, then a good starter, then an injured bad starter, then a good RP, then a bad RP, then a good RP again.
   21. baxter Posted: September 14, 2022 at 12:32 AM (#6096044)
11 3 wins in 28 starts for Don Larsen + 21 losses
   22. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2022 at 03:32 AM (#6096047)
Jim Abbott’s 1996 season has to rank up there as one of the worst, although he didn’t qualify for the ERA title. 2-18 with a 7.48 ERA in 142 IP (23 starts + 4 relief appearances). It’s pretty remarkable that he was allowed to throw that many innings with that level of performance.
   23. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: September 14, 2022 at 09:21 AM (#6096053)
I thought Hal Griggs had a 2-18 season, but nothing close upon inspection. The ole memory ain’t what it used to be.

He did finish 6-26 for his career though.
   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 14, 2022 at 01:32 PM (#6096078)
Jack Nabors in 1916 pitched 40 games, 30 starts, for the Philadelphia Athletics and went 1-20. He won his second decision to even his record at 1-1, and then lost 19 in a row. His career record was 1-25. His ERA in 1916 was 3.47, an ERA+ of 82. His FIP was 3.12. So he was certainly a below average pitcher, but not quite as brutal as the win/loss record indicates. The team went 36-117-1.
   25. BDC Posted: September 14, 2022 at 02:25 PM (#6096087)
Dane Dunning update, since I get to see him pitch against Oakland tonight … he is now at 3 wins in 27 starts. Nothing historic, but if there were a hard-luck award he would be in the running. Dunning has eight Losses and the Rangers are 8-19 in his starts – again, fair enough, he's a below-average pitcher on a bad team; but among his teammates Glenn Otto and Taylor Hearn have pitched no better, and the team is 11-12 and 7-6 respectively in their starts.

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