By Manny Randhawa / for Sports on Earth
Since the start of the 2016 season, a starting pitcher has gone at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs 1,071 times. In one out of every three of those instances (350), the starter did not register a win. In 102 of those cases, the starting pitcher actually took the loss.
With so many factors in a game outside the starting pitcher’s control, such as how many runs his team scores or how his team’s bullpen performs after he comes out, the debate over whether the pitcher win is still relevant has been raging in recent years. Thus far, the statistic has withstood criticism and remains a staple in baseball’s lexicon.
But what do Major League starting pitchers, who have the “W,” “L” or “ND” (no-decision) assigned to them on a given day — often bearing the “L” despite pitching well — think about the utility of the stat?
“It’s really not a good way to evaluate a pitcher,” said reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA last season. “You can be on a good or a bad team and that affects your win-loss record.”
It isn’t an open-and-shut case, however.