Dave Brown at Big League Stew watched Zack Greinke’s dominant yet losing performance and thinks that it’s high time we just get rid of wins for pitchers altogether:
Does a point guard get a “W” in basketball? Hockey goalies may get
wins and losses, but does anyone pay as much attention to those
statistics as they do in baseball?
Quarterbacks have W-L records, I guess, but it’s paid such little mind.
What was Johnny Unitas’ record? Joe Montana’s? Peyton Manning’s? Nobody
has much of a clue without
looking it up.
As individualistic as baseball can be, it’s still a
team sport. Just because some people believe the game to be “75 percent
pitching” doesn’t make it so. It’s never been like that. Not even in
the 19th century, when guys like Old Hoss Radbourn were throwing 600-plus innings in a season, like they were
larger-than-life biblical characters who, it was said, lived for 10
Brown is actually rooting for Greinke to keep dominating, but keep losing, so that people will finally start to understand that wins are rather arbitrary and largely dependent upon one’s teammates. Sometimes, as in Greinke’s case, teammates who suck.
I don’t know that I’d go that far, but anything that takes the wind out of people’s “Pitcher X just knows how to win” hogwash would be a good thing.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.