There are a lot of people talking about pitchers that win 20 games in a year or pitchers that lose a lot of games in a season, but in reality those numbers mean very little. Sure, wins and losses are what everything ultimately boils down to, but to measure the success of a pitcher by how many games he “wins” is stupid.
The rule to determine if a pitcher gets a win in MLB is defined as the last pitcher to pitch prior to the half-inning when the winning team took the lead. There are two exceptions to this rule, the more common being that a starting pitcher must complete five innings to qualify for a win. The second exception applies to relief pitchers who make a “brief appearance” that the relief pitcher gets relieved later in the game. If the official scorer judges that the relief pitcher was “ineffective” the win is awarded to the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the official scorer’s judgment. Does that make sense? No, not really. As such the rule makes no sense.
The Baltimore Orioles lost 2-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night in a game where Chris Tillman got credited with a “loss” even though he didn’t give up a single earned run. Over eight innings pitched the Baltimore ace gave up three hits, two unearned runs, zero earned runs and walked only one batter while striking out six.
The Blue Jays scored their two runs in the fourth inning thanks to a pair of errors from Jonathan Schoop.
Poor defense and lack of run support are the two things that allowed the Blue Jays to win the ballgame and Chris Tillman will get charged with the “loss” even though both of those things are completely out of his control.
Tillman’s job is to pitch and he did a phenomenal job, stifling a powerful lineup over eight innings but at the end of the season this game will just be a big fat “L”, an “L” with the same meaning that Miguel Gonzalez was awarded last week against the Detroit Tigers for giving up seven earned runs in less than four innings pitched. That isn’t very fair, now is it?