Monday, November 26, 2007

Consecutive Games with a Loss

Say what you will about the sometimes-odd way baseball assigns wins and losses, there's no one in baseball that wants an "L" next to his name in the box score. All the way back in August, I posted about Chris Capuano's streak of starts without his team winning. Though he currently stands at eighteen consecutive starts without the Brewers winning the game, he at least picked up some no decisions in that stretch. Below are players that weren't so lucky. I'm going to mix it up a little by listing the pitchers tied for second on the list and then I'll give some background on top guy before revealing his name at the end.

A streak of seven or more straight appearances with a loss has happened seventy-eight times since 1957. Of those, forty-six streaks were seven games long. The last seven game streak was put up by Jose Contreras from June 24, 2007 until July 31, 2007. Twenty streaks ended at eight games, with Hideo Nomo from May 13, 2004 to September 1, 2004 being the most recent. If anyone's wondering, the longest streaks of Capuano's career were four games each and both occurred during 2007.

Here are the eleven players with losses in nine consecutive appearances with their ERA and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) listed, too, just for fun:
  • Sidney Ponson, 5/22/2004 to 7/4/2004, 6.87 ERA, 5.11 FIP
  • Mike Maroth, 9/22/2002 to 5/1/2003, 4.92 ERA, 3.66 FIP
  • Andy Benes, 9/6/1993 to 4/19/1994, 4.37 ERA, 4.15 FIP
  • Dennis Rasmussen, 6/26/1991 to 8/9/1991, 5.50 ERA, 5.26 FIP
  • Juan Berenguer, 8/24/1981 to 10/2/1981, 4.92 ERA, 5.12 FIP
  • Brian Kingman, 8/12/1980 to 9/25/1980, 5.29 ERA, 6.17 FIP
  • Mike Morgan, 6/11/1978 to 7/24/1979, 6.46 ERA, 6.09 FIP
  • Jeff Byrd, 8/11/1977 to 9/27/1977, 6.65 ERA, 5.76 FIP
  • Denny McLain, 5/18/1971 to 6/26/1971, 6.13 ERA, 6.35 FIP
  • Mickey Lolich, 5/23/1967 to 7/15/1967, 5.82 ERA, 4.28 FIP
  • Chuck Stobbs, 4/16/1957 to 5/24/1957, 8.08 ERA, 6.03 FIP
Denny McLain's appearance is kind of sad. Less than three years after winning 31 games for the Tigers, gambling problems and increasingly erratic behavior had derailed his career. The Mike Morgan on this list is the same Mike Morgan that pitched for the Diamondbacks as recently as 2002. Brian Kingman is the second-most recent pitcher to lost 20 games in a seaon; Mike Maroth is the most recent, having lost 21 for the Tigers in 2003. Interestingly, Maroth had the best nine-game stretch of the players on the list, at least in terms of FIP. Tigers batters gave him a total of seventeen runs over the nine games he lost.

The longest streak of losses in consecutive appearances is held by a pitcher with a career 134-116 record and a 3.80 career ERA. Despite being only 5'11" and 172 lbs., the righthander was durable, giving his team 179 or more innings for nine straight seasons from 1983 through 1991. Despite his consistency, he only received votes for the Cy Young Award in one season, his 20-11, 2.79 ERA 1984 campaign. After that year, however, his ERA only dipped below 4.00 twice, in 1988 and 1990. His career after 1984 resembles Jeff Suppan's, but just a bit better. He never left the American League but he did pitch for four different franchises. He started four games in the postseason in his career, going 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA, and got a ring with the Orioles in 1983, the same year he led the league in shutouts with five. He was the player traded from the Orioles to the Red Sox in 1988 for an outfielder named Brady Anderson and a pitcher named Curt Schilling.

Who is this mystery RHP? Mike Boddicker.

From September 9, 1987 to May 14, 1988, Boddicker couldn't buy a win pitching for the Orioles. Though he finished 1988 with the Red Sox, compiling a 3.39 ERA for the entire season, his won-loss record was a middling 13-15, largely thanks to the eight straight losses with which he opened the season. Given the fact he closed out 1987 with five consecutive losses, he set the bar very high with his thirteen straight defeats. Though he didn't pitch very well, as his 5.61 ERA and 4.76 FIP can attest, the Orioles gave him only twenty runs of support in his thirteen games, six of them in one game.

Mike Boddicker may not be mentioned much when records are discussed but I'm sure this is one record he doesn't mind being hidden away as part of baseball's minutiae.

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