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Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Unluckiest Pitching Staff in History

Some guys have all the luck.

Not these guys, mind You.

These guys? They never met a black cat they couldn’t cross, a mirror they couldn’t crack.

gehrig97 Posted: January 29, 2023 at 07:35 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bob gibson, jacob degrom, mets, nolan ryan

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   1. Jose Canusee Posted: January 29, 2023 at 02:21 PM (#6115001)
Would have expected to see more old timers on the list where their team's low scoring was due to their facing the opposing team's ace whereas now managers keep their rotation in order. Gibson was noted as a good hitting pitcher and Hershiser and deGrom have been better than average with the bat so it's not a case of their being more of an offensive handicap
   2. BDC Posted: January 29, 2023 at 02:42 PM (#6115005)
I thought this would be literally about pitching staffs.

If it were, you could set various criteria for "unlucky" and find ones that were extreme at various benchmarks. One candidate would be the 1942 Tigers. Hal Newhouser, Tommy Bridges, Dizzy Trout, Virgil Trucks, and two lesser-known but pretty good starters named Al Benton and Hal White, both of whom had ERA+ of 136. The staff as a whole had an ERA+ of 127. Their W/L was 73-81.

Weak offense, and they also gave up 100 unearned runs. Yet they still pitched very well. Their team FIP of 3.00 was second in the league to the champion Yankees' 2.91.
   3. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 29, 2023 at 07:33 PM (#6115073)
Tim Crews and Steve Olin say "hello."
   4. gehrig97 Posted: January 30, 2023 at 09:52 AM (#6115122)
@2: Good stuff.
   5. gehrig97 Posted: January 30, 2023 at 09:54 AM (#6115124)
@3: Oh man. Cold. So cold.
   6. Itchy Row Posted: January 30, 2023 at 11:38 AM (#6115143)
It wasn't a full season of bad luck, but in 1999, one of his Cy Young years, Randy Johnson had a five-game stretch where he gave up 5 ER in 40 innings (1.13 ERA) and went 0-4. The no-decision was in a game he left after 8 with a 2-0 lead that the bullpen lost in the bottom of the ninth.
   7. bachslunch Posted: January 30, 2023 at 12:06 PM (#6115147)
His article of the "luckiest pitching staff in history" is also interesting reading -- starters who amassed years with big W-L records and well below average ERA+ numbers:

   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 30, 2023 at 12:31 PM (#6115153)
As a child of the 80s who was also reading Bill James' Baseball Abstracts every year, there were a handful of specific pitcher-seasons that became ingrained early as examples of "lucky seasons":

Steve Stone 1980
Pete Vuckovich 1982
Lamarr Hoyt 1983

Dave Steib and Mario Soto were examples of pitchers who often couldn't catch a break in their W/L records, but Nolan Ryan 1987 was (and probably remains) the best example of a season where, when somebody goes, "unlucky pitcher", I immediately think of him.
   9. BDC Posted: January 30, 2023 at 12:35 PM (#6115154)
On the "luckiest" side of the ledger for team pitching staffs, the 1913 A's were World Champions (96-57) with a team ERA+ of 87. They had stars in Eddie Plank and Charles Bender, but Connie Mack also gave a lot of innings to Joe Bush and Byron Houck, who did not have good years and went 29-12 between them anyway. Their lineup was, obviously, awesome.

   10. bachslunch Posted: January 30, 2023 at 12:49 PM (#6115155)
Another "lucky" pitcher would be Jack Billingham in 1974, who pitched for the Big Red Machine in its glory years.

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