The Reason Pitching Losses Were Invented

Pitcher wins and losses are poor statistics to use when evaluating pitchers, as many readers here surely know. Wins and losses give full credit to the pitcher for the performance, or lack thereof, of the whole team. As such, it can often miscredit pitchers, such as the 5 IP, 6 ER performance in a 17-8 victory or the CG, 1 ER loss when the offense is shut out.

In Colorado last night, however, the loss was completely deserved – or at least 99% deserved. Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin entered the ninth inning with one out and two on but a 9-4 lead. Despite the threat of runners on base, the leading team will win this game 99% of the time – even a home run leaves the trailing team with a mere 5.5% chance of winning the game.

That means that even after Chris Iannetta, the first batter Franklin faced, went deep, the Cardinals were still in good shape. Dexter Fowler doubled to keep things interesting, but a Brad Hawpe groundout seemed to signal that the end was near for the Rockies, who had already plated one run off of reliever Dennys Reyes before Franklin entered the game. A Carlos Gonzalez single scored Dexter Fowler and made the game 9-8, but with two outs and Gonzalez out of scoring position, the Cardinals, even after allowing four runs in the inning, were still sitting pretty, with an 88.9% chance of victory.

Given the lead of the story, what follows is obvious. Jason Giambi singled, and an error allowed Gonzalez to score, tying the game and giving the Rockies the upper hand, with a 57.2% win expectancy. Miguel Olivo singled to push that number up to 64.2%. The Cardinals could’ve gone on to win the game in extra innings, but Seth Smith squashed any such thoughts with a three run blast to end the game.

Ryan Franklin managed to get one out. He faced seven batters. The Cardinals went from an all-but-assured victory to a loss. Ryan Franklin earned the loss on his record tonight.



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Jocro
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Jocro
5 years 11 months ago

So the bases were loaded and ianetta goes deep. Shouldn’t that make the score 9-9 after fowler scores? Or am i missing something?

The Tom
Guest
The Tom
5 years 11 months ago

The bases were loaded when Iannetta came up but Olivo scored on a Wild Pitch so Iannetta hit a 3 run shot

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

According to the play log, Franklin entered the game with runners on 2nd and 3rd, not with the bases loaded.

Jerry
Member
Jerry
5 years 11 months ago

Thanks – I was doing the math in my head too and it didn’t add up… :)

astrostl
Member
astrostl
5 years 11 months ago

I think it’s time to invent manager losses.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
5 years 11 months ago

Manager losses already exist.

joser
Guest
joser
5 years 11 months ago

Unfortunately this game counts for only one.

Resolution
Guest
Resolution
5 years 11 months ago

I believe there were men on the corners when Iannetta hit his home run, which was definitely a 3 run shot.

Poochie
Member
Poochie
5 years 11 months ago

I hope this, and his meltdown against the Dodgers last October convince LaRussa to remove him from the cloesr’s role.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 11 months ago

Seems like more than just Franklin contributed to the loss … Just like last year’s playoff game.

As a coach, I’ve been in this position before and it’s frustrating. After a big blow, you’re thinking “Now that’s out of the way, just get the final out.

Especially after Ianetta’s blast to clear the bases, the rally should be over. That Franklin allowed COL to get multiple runners on again was the sign to get him out of there. Franklin ha shown that once things start going badly he does not have “stopper stuff” (strikeout ability). He’s generally servicable, but not ideal closer stuff.

Perez was supposed to be ‘the guy’, then Motte was. Franklin will continue to do reasonably well, as many relievers can put up scoreless innings, but there are times when he will unravel due to not having “put em away stuff”.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 11 months ago

You’d also like to think in that situation, you wouldn’t need to use your closer. Franklin’s mindset was likely in the zine of not going to be needed tonight … And probably entered the game not being mentally focused. I’ve been there before.

Nate
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

So an error allowed the tying run to score. How is that proof that a pitcher alone deserves a loss?

Andrew T. Fisher
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

Well…The error just allowed Gonzalez to move up a base. Franklin went on to give up three more runs after that. All six runs were earned….so yeah…Franklin deserved the L

Franco
Guest
Franco
5 years 11 months ago

This is another annoying bullpen theory that managers go by. When you bring your closer in and he clearly doesn’t have it….. leave him in anyways until he loses the game or saves it. Everyone else, including your ace starter, gets the hook… your closer… nope.

Larry Smith Jr.
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

I completely agree. A thread made after this one about the worst bullpen outings of all-time featured a game by Todd Jones where Jim Leyland did the same thing. It was obvious from moment one in that particular game that Jones didn’t have it, but he was allowed to stand out there and lose the game.

cmazza
Member
cmazza
5 years 11 months ago

Wait a minute, something isn’t right. The rally should’ve ended after the home run. Because home runs are rally killers, right?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 11 months ago

Home runs are not rally killers, but having the bases cleared does remove some distractions for the pitcher.

Now whether the pitcher allows th homer to dwell in his mind is another situation.

Once the pitcher has allowed further runners to get on base, he should be pulled. It’s the same situation the manager pulled the previous pitcher for.

Bases empty with 2 outs is a pretty favorable spot to pitch in.

Franco
Guest
Franco
5 years 11 months ago

I think he was joking about the HR ending a rally. There are a couple players, broadcasters that have said this and get mocked heavily online for it. I know Met fans goof on Francouer for saying it.

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
5 years 11 months ago

One of the things I don’t like about WPA for pitchers is that it is not a DIPS.

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