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Jered Weaver just doesn’t know how to win (or something)

Aug 6, 2011, 10:22 AM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

When someone uses Jered Weaver‘s win total against him in a Cy Young debate–and it’s already happening, with plenty more to come–I hope the sane among us remember last night’s game.

Weaver threw nine shutout innings, striking out eight, walking one, and allowing zero extra-base hits. And he got a no-decision.

And then an inning later the Angels won 1-0 on a walk-off hit, giving the “win” to reliever Jordan Walden for his one scoreless inning of work.

It was actually the second time this season Weaver has thrown nine shutout innings and didn’t get a win and the fourth time he’s allowed zero or one run in seven or more innings and didn’t get a win. Coincidentally, the Angels rank 12th among AL teams in scoring and Weaver has gotten the league’s third-worst run support.

In related news, he has “only” 14 wins despite an MLB-best 1.78 ERA (and MLB-best 6.5 WAR, for the stat-heads in the crowd) and I’m already annoyed by the future articles that will be written touting Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia over Weaver for the Cy Young award on the basis of their slightly higher win totals. My hope is that Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez winning the award in back-to-back seasons despite modest win totals has convinced enough of the voting base that an individual pitcher’s record is a secondary factor in determining how well he actually pitched, but I’m still skeptical.

Right now Weaver has thrown 177 innings with a 1.78 ERA. Verlander has thrown 181 innings with a 2.24 ERA. Sabathia has thrown 177 innings with a 2.55 ERA. Without knowing how much run support and bullpen support each pitcher has gotten–and those two factors have nothing to do with how well they’ve actually pitched–I certainly know which way I’d vote.

  1. dbick - Aug 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Anyone who still cites wins as a good way of determining how good a pitcher is automatically loses some credibility as a baseball mind.

  2. rjostewart - Aug 6, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    I dunno, man. Verlander has the best xFIP of the three and CC has the best FIP (also Fangraphs has him leading in WAR). It’s not like either of those guys’ cases are built on wins exclusively a la Bartolo in 2005.

    • bblontz - Aug 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      Agreed. While I don’t think wins should matter, Verlander is also leading the league in IP and WHIP along with the stats you’ve posted.

      I do think Weaver should be in the conversation, but it’s still clearly a 3 man race for AL Cy Young.

  3. shawnuel - Aug 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Right now, it is a toss up for me between Verlander and Weaver with Sabathia a very close third, though some credit has to be given C.C. for pitching half his games in the bandbox that is Yankee stadium. Maybe it IS a three way tie after all!

    • Ari Collins - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:06 PM

      Isn’t Yankee stadium only a bandbox for LH power? In other words, its effects would be a lot less pronounced for a LHP.

  4. mplsjoe - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    King Felix’ and Greinke’s wins, not to mention Mauer’s MVP over Jeter, hopefully prove that this is a non-story. No need to start fretting.

    • spudchukar - Aug 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM

      Fret away. Last night on MLB network Harold Reynold weighed in with a comment, and I paraphrase, ‘Yeah, I don’t think the voters can just rely on ERA two years in a row and deprive Verlander or Sabathia’. Fortunately, there are currently 3 deserving candidates, but let’s wait and see if things do not sort themselves out.

  5. ballsout1950 - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    I think Weaver is a solid candidate for the CYA and probably should win but I would also point out that with the exception of Texas, that is one major offensively challanged division…… Seatle and Oakland have the lowest runs scored in the AL. LAA is third from the bottom which explains why Weaver doesn’t have 18 wins yet.

  6. paul621 - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    14 wins at this point in the season is nothing to sneeze at. If he finished the year with only 14, then I’d be worried about a Cy snub. People won’t complain just because he didn’t lead the league in wins; the complaints will come if he has a paltry total, which doesn’t seem likely at this point if he already has 14.

  7. cktai - Aug 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Quote from the article:

    Wins are important. At Cooperstown this past weekend, inductee Pat Gillick said: “Wins matter. Forget about quality starts and forget about all that other stuff.”
    Wins matter. No matter what, this will be a great Cy Young race.

    Unquote

    The problem is that people confuse winning, as in winning a baseball game, with the statistic Pitcher Wins. It takes at least 9 people, usually more, to win a baseball game. Only one of them will be awarded a statistic Pitcher Win. I wished people would stop staring blindly at these statistics that only matter for fantasy baseball geeks and start focusing on what is really important for a pitcher. Pitching innings and preventing runs. Next thing you know they will claim Tony Sipp is the best reliever in baseball.

    • paperlions - Aug 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Exactly.

      Team wins = highest priority

      Pitcher wins = pretty useless metric of individual performance

  8. a1gd1ramsfan - Aug 6, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    MLB should call up espn they already have a new qB rating in stored why not for MLB pitching prom led solved thx espn

  9. jimbo1949 - Aug 6, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Greinke and King Felix had the argument that they were pitching for terrible teams with virtually no way to win a lot of games. LAA are in 2nd place AL West, 4th best record in the AL. Cry me a river, Verlander’s Tigers have a worse record. He should be the one getting sympathy.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 7, 2011 at 9:08 PM

      The Angels are good BECAUSE of Weaver. Not because of their run support. Wins are not about the quality of the team, it’s about the run support and bullpen support your team gives you.

  10. zidanevalor - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    During a Yankees game right before the All Star break, YES Network had a graphic that showed that CC Sabathia has the highest run support in the AL. I’m pretty sure it’s something ridiculous like 6.5 runs per game, which isn’t THAT surprising because the Yankees are averaging 5.38 runs per game throughout the first 111 games.

  11. fearlessleader - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Though it will never happen, I dream of the day when MLB changes the rules to allow official scorers some latitude in assigning wins to pitchers under certain circumstances. (There’s already precedent, since the scorer gets to use his or her judgment in the case of a starter who goes less than five innings but otherwise qualifies for the win.) It’s simply ridiculous to deny a W to Weaver in a game like this, or to give a W to a reliever who blows a late-inning lead and is quickly bailed out by his teammates. (For a while last year, Tyler Clippard was leading the NL in wins for the sole reason that he’d blown a bunch of saves in games that his team came back to win. Ridiculous!)

    Instead of schooling the world to quit paying attention to Ws, I’d rather see the rules amended to make Ws more meaningful.

    • cktai - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      Something like starting for at least 6 innings giving up less then 3 runs might be nice?

      • fearlessleader - Aug 6, 2011 at 2:37 PM

        Well, I’m thinking more in terms of adding a clause to the rule book that keeps the current specifications in place, but allows the official scorer to award the W to the pitcher who pitched the most effectively if, in his/her opinion, that’s not the one who technically qualified for the win. Yeah, you’d run into some “homer” issues, but that’s nothing new—and it could be fixed by moving scorers from stadium to stadium like umpires, as has been suggested for years now. But that’s a different conversation. :)

  12. iranuke - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Earned Runs Allowed:

    Weaver——315
    Verlander—405
    Sabathia—-451

    Calculated by the formula runs= innings*ERA

    • cktai - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      You know that ERA is earned runs per 9 innings right? and that earned runs are on all the stat sites like fangraphs? So the ER of these pitchers are Weaver 35, Verlander 45 and Sebathia 50.

      Not sure what use it is to list them here though.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      Albert Pujols’ 2011 HR: 25
      Ken Gerhart 1987 HR: 14

      Calculated by the formula:

      HR= OBP*PA-BB-HBP-Singles-2B-3B

  13. thefalcon123 - Aug 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Who was better?

    Pitcher A: 2.95 ERA, 238 IP, 1.65 K/BB ratio, 127 K’s, 26 HR 126 ER+

    Pitcher B: 1.93 ERA, 228 IP, 3.87 K/BB ratio, 209 K, 7 HR, 213 ERA+

    Well, according a bunch of deeply stupid Cy Young Voters, Bob Welch just knew how to win in 1990, and Clemens didn’t (not as well anyway). I guess people like this writer think the wins had more to do with Bob Welch himself, as opposed to having an offense with Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Dave Henderson and Harold Baines and a bullpen of Dennis Eckersley (601 ERA+), Todd Burns (126 ERA+) , Gene Nelson (239 ERA+), Rick Honeycutt (139 ERA+) and Joe Klink (184 ERA+) to protect your leads.

    I just don’t understand what’s so confusing about these pitcher wins v. every-other-stat debate. If Weaver had the Yankees offense, he’d have more wins. Why is that so hard to understand? If Clemens had the A’s offense and bullpen in 1990, he somehow would have won 32 games in his 31 starts.

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