Hopefully Cliff Lee realizes wins are a dumb stat for pitchers

42 Comments

Cliff Lee just tossed six innings of three-run ball in his final start of the season and has so often been the case he took a loss because the Phillies’ lineup scored all of one run.

Lee finishes the year with a 3.16 ERA and 207/28 K/BB ratio in 211 innings. And he’s going to wind up with a grand total of six wins. Or perhaps I should say six “wins” because of how silly the stat can be.

For instance, Ivan Nova has 12 “wins” with a 5.02 ERA in 170 innings and Bruce Chen has 11 “wins” with a 5.07 ERA in 192 innings.

Five times this season Lee allowed zero or one run in a start and failed to record a win. And he failed to get a win when allowing three or fewer runs a total of 14 times.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Lee is now the first pitcher in baseball history to win fewer than eight games with 200-plus strikeouts and a sub-3.20 ERA. And, coincidentally I’m sure, Lee ranks 85th among 90 qualified pitchers in run support.