Milwaukee Brewers: Pitchers’ win-loss record doesn’t matter
By David Gasper
One of the first stats people see when looking at a pitcher is their record. How many wins and how many losses they have has told us for years how a pitcher is doing. Stop doing that because it doesn’t matter. Especially when you consider what’s happened to Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson.
Jimmy Nelson just outdueled Clayton friggin’ Kershaw and pitched probably the best game of his entire career. He threw 101 pitches with 76 counted as strikes over eight shutout innings! Throwing strikes is important for Nelson as he’s been in trouble when he throws too many balls outside the zone. He allowed only five hits, no walks, and had 11 strikeouts against a powerful Dodgers lineup. You know what he didn’t get? A victory. The first-place Brewers lost in the 12th inning.
The home run in the ninth off Brewers closer Corey Knebel tied the game and prevented a win from going on Jimmy Nelson’s record. This is not okay. Nelson did everything physically possible to get the win against the best pitcher in all of baseball and he won’t get any credit for it. Unbelievable. All that dominance and Nelson just gets a no-decision.
This isn’t the first time a Milwaukee Brewers pitcher didn’t get the decision they deserved. The two pitchers with the most wins on the team (5) are Wily Peralta and Zach Davies. They both have ERAs over 5.00 and Peralta was so bad they moved him to the bullpen.
Against the Mets back in May, Davies barely made it through five innings and allowed four runs on over 100 pitches. The way he pitched, he should’ve gotten the L and the Milwaukee Brewers should’ve lost. But hold it right there. In the bottom of fifth, while Davies is still the pitcher of record, eight runs come in to score and blow away the New York Mets. Davies gets credit for the win, having not pitched like it at all. He has a 5-3 record.
Wily Peralta ‘earned’ a 5-2 record when he went to the bullpen.
Jimmy Nelson has a 3-3 record despite looking like our best pitcher. Nelson deserves a far better record than he has. Against Boston, he threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing only one unearned run and got a no-decision. Against Chicago in his first start of the year, he went six innings and allowed only one run. No decision.
For example, let’s say a starting pitcher goes eight shutout innings and his team has a 1-0 lead heading into the ninth. The closer comes in, gives up a run and the game is tied. The next half inning, the team gets a walk-off hit and the closer who allowed the run and tied the game, gets the win…and a blown save. This makes no sense. But if you watch enough baseball games you have seen it before.
So let’s stop making a pitcher’s win-loss record the first thing we look at. The TV broadcasts show it first, the radio broadcasts talk about it first, fans look at it first, the videoboard displays the record prominently, etc. Stop, just stop.
Some pitchers deserve better records than they get and some deserve worse records. And I don’t think there’s a single pitcher in all of baseball that has the exact record they deserved over a whole season. That is why it needs to end. It’s not accurate, it’s not reliable, and it’s not important anymore.
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This isn’t just ending this stat for the Milwaukee Brewers, this is for all of baseball. It’s time for the baseball world to stop looking at win-loss records. Take Ryan Fagan’s pledge to stop caring about the win-loss record for pitchers.