Despite this great throw from Hunter Pence saving Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies from a first and third situation with one out, his team still found a way to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. This means that despite nine starts of typically dominant Cliff Lee pitching, the spindly and stoic left hander has yet to attain a pitching win this season.

On one hand, this doesn’t matter, because pitching wins are an antiquated measurement of things so far from within the realm of a pitcher’s control that it’s rendered completely meaningless.

However, in the same thinking that suggests we are what we propose to be, you can make an argument that pitching wins are important because a vast array of baseball fans who simply don’t know any better still put an emphasis on counting up the number of times other players scored more runs than a pitcher allowed.

I think of a pitching win in similar terms as win probability added, with an admission that the win category is more arbitrary. If you’ve ever watched a baseball game before, you know that a starting pitcher, who has more to say about the outcome of a given game than anyone else on the field, wants to see his hard work put to good use. So, if the team comes out ahead, he’s happy, and if his team comes out behind, he’s sad. I get my nose out of joint when people refer to total wins and losses as evidence of a pitcher’s skill level, which any thinking person would agree is ridiculous.

Anyway, that”s a heck of a throw from Hunter Pence.

Comments (11)

  1. wins are dumb, but not so dumb they should stop counting them…just that they’re literally the LAST thing anyone should ever look to for evidence of anything a pitcher has done instead of the first.

    • What’s the point in counting them then?

      • because they’ve been counted in the past and used heavily in who has been elected to the HoF. they’re part of the history of the game, and though they should fall out of usage, you can’t really understand how and why managers, writers, players, etc. made certain decisions without them.
        imagine just taking the stalinist approach to saves, erasing them from the record books over night. if you looked at a box score, you’d wonder why mariano rivera was brought on in the 9th with a 3 run lead to strike out the bottom of the bottom-feeder team’s lineup.
        they’re stupid stats, but they enable us to understand more. and i would presume without thinking heavily about it, that it is possible – as you argued yesterday – that certain situations may effect a player’s performance from time to time. but until you attach electrodes to everyone during a game, that’s some neuro science we can’t have direct access to.

        • I don’t want to live in a world with a stat that makes Jack Morris look better than he is and makes Matt Cain look worse than he is.

  2. It matters if you have Cliff Lee on your fantasy team. WHIP and ERA are great but it would be nice to have those W’s.

  3. How long before Ruben Amaro wakes up with the severed head of Ryan Howard under his sheets?

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