For those of you who aren’t aware, last year I kept a statistical record on the stat that must not be named. Or maybe it should be the stat that we need but not the one we deserve? I’m running out of movie references. Tis the Vulture I am referring to. We all know the “Pitcher Wins – Losses” stats are terrible indicators of pitcher performance. Largely because the pitcher has no control over it. But perhaps even worse is when the positive indicator (the win or the “W”) is given to a pitcher who is absolutely undeserving of the distinction. It’s usually a relief pitcher who is charged with keeping a team lead (or a tie game a tie), blows it, but is then bailed out by his fellow hitters later in the game. Then someone else preserves that victory leading to the perpetrator of the debacle to get the “Win”.
For the purposes of keeping the stat easy to track I only looked at guys who had blown saves (which includes setup men and other RPs in a hold situation and then blew it) but later get the win. I believe Baseball Reference calls it the “Blown Win”. This will naturally exclude situations where a pitcher came in with his team trailing, he probably exacerbated the problem by allowing several runs but then the big bats bail out him out. I fully recognize that we probably won’t catch all the vultures with this definition, so feel free to nominate a pitcher if he doesn’t make my list. Also, I’m not perfect I may miss some guys, feel free to remind me.
Last year we had 55 Vultured Wins to the best of my knowledge. There were 46 different pitchers involved. No one had more than two Vultured Wins. The names varied from guys you’ve never heard of to the very famous Craig Kimbrel, who… let’s be honest, with that mound stance, doesn’t he look somewhat like an Andean Condor?
Come on, you can see the resemblance right?
This will be a weekly column reporting on the on goings of the feathery band of brothers and their misadventures. There will be weeks where no carrion eating occurs but I’ll try to fill up the blanks with some historical vultures or vulture men.
And so, with this new season of baseball upon us we turn to this week’s birds of lame. Well bird, singular.
April 5th. Nate Jones of the Chicago White Sox inaugurated the hall of shame this season. He was brought in the eighth after fellow hurler Zach Duke couldn’t get Josh Reddick out, who got on base with a single. Come on Zach, you had ONE Job. ONE. Still, Jones came in to pitch to Danny Valencia who lined out to Austin Jackson. Then Nate hit Khris Davis with a pitch. Ouch. Billy Butler lined out to Austin Jackson for the second one. Then Nate hit Stephen Vogt with a pitch. I’m sensing a pattern here… Yonder Alonso however, did NOT line out to Austin Jackson. He correctly deduced that hitting to Jackson was going nowhere so he hit to right field instead and drove in the runs to tie the game. Good Going Nate. I hope you bought Jimmy Rollins a beer who bailed you out with 9th inning Home Run heroics. You need to turn in that W. No pitcher who hits two batters and allows the game tying hit should get a win.