Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John Lackey, Cole Hamels latest examples that pitcher wins are dumb

John Lackey can't catch a break.

Ok, obviously his 2011 and 2012 were much worse, for both off-field and on-field reasons. Before the 2013 season, he clearly devoted himself to losing weight, and with a repaired elbow and lithe frame, Lackey is doing his best pitching since 2007 when he led the American League in ERA. In 2013, he is eighth in the league in ERA+, eighth in BB/9, and sixth in K/BB. Yet, despite all of this on baseball's third highest scoring team, Lackey is, inexplicably 8-11. Why? The Red Sox don't score any runs when he pitches.

Now, Lackey has had better run support than a number of pitchers. At 3.5 RS/9, he ranks 99th out of 130 pitchers, which doesn't sound so bad. However, his team scores 5.3 runs per nine innings. No other player with such a low run support number pitches for a team that scores more than 4.6 per nine.

Let's go to the breakdown.

PlayerTm R/9RS/9IPLuck
Scott Kazmir4.76.31.6
Matt Moore4.66.11.5
Justin Grimm4.55.91.4
Jordan Lyles4.15.41.3
Hyun-jin Ryu45.21.2
Yovani Gallardo4.15.31.2
Scott Feldman4.25.41.2
Max Scherzer5.66.81.2
Chris Archer4.63.4-1.2
Dan Straily4.63.4-1.2
Cole Hamels3.92.7-1.2
Kris Medlen4.43.1-1.3
Chris Capuano42.6-1.4
John Lackey5.33.5-1.8

No pitcher has been as unlucky as Lackey has been this year. In fact, no pitcher has been as lucky as Lackey has been unlucky. 

Still, I suppose it's better to be Lackey than Cole Hamels. Hamels is 5-13, despite a solid (though unspectacular 106 ERA+. As anemic as the Philadelphia offense tends to be every night, they simply don't show up with Hamels is on the mound. Eight times this season, the Phillies have scored zero or one run when the lefty pitches. When he allows more than one earned run, his record is 0-13. In nine starts where Hamels has given up exactly two earned runs, he's 0-6. 

Still, pitching for a team that can't hit isn't really "unlucky," it's just sort of a crummy circumstance. John Lackey pitches for a good hitting team, and they just don't hit when he pitches.