Greg Lucas: A Worthy W/L Assignment Option

Greg Lucas

On the heels of our TPPE W/L column this weekend, Greg Lucas e-mailed me a suggestion of great worthiness to future consideration of any rule changes to the W/L assignment to pitchers in light of all the changes in the game that have made these decisions by the rules in place now even ludicrous.

As one of the really good and tempered minds that rest upon the shoulders of our media today, Greg Lucas is someone who deserves a far greater audience than my ears. Greg has broadcast more big league games in his lifetime than most of us cumulatively have seen since the Astros moved downtown in 2000.

With fairness to the private essence of this communication, here’s the justification and one possible way for baseball to reach in a rule change for greater equity in the matter:

The Need. Lucas recognizes that the way pitchers are used today “makes the Won-Loss record hard to value.  There are just not enough complete games for starters, and, in using pitch counts to get them out of games, starters don’t get enough innings work to really WIN a game.”

Possible Improvement Change. Allow “any starter who leaves a game after seven innings trailing by no more than two runs to still be eligible for the win, if his team ultimately does. Of course, if they don’t win, he still gets the loss ~ unless he is ‘taken off the hook’ in the current manner ~ and the team loses anyway.”

The Benefit. “This change would allow starters who perform exceptionally well, but who are removed late, to still have a shot at winning, even if they are behind by a run or two after having pitched seven innings. As you can see, this doesn’t solve everything because getting through seven innings is tough these days, but it does give a starter a better shot at a winning decision after he has done most of the work. It also gives the pitcher who did the bulk of the work the actual win credit.”

Thanks, Greg Lucas, for something good to think about in our changing baseball world.  In today’s game, the greatest pitcher in the world can take a pitch count removal from a shutout after the 7th and still fail to get credit for the win because his club only got one run later in the bottom of the 9th ~ and by today’s rules ~ giving the win to the reliever who pitched the last out in the top of the 9th.

Not right. If the W/L is supposed to mean anything, fairness cries out for change.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle




One Response to “Greg Lucas: A Worthy W/L Assignment Option”

  1. Larry Dierker Says:

    Naturally I would go for that. But I wonder if the Goose Egg system for relievers might be applied to starters too. Either way, it would be a leap for statisticians to go back in time using a new system. A recent suggestion by Nate Silver awards relievers with Goose Eggs instead of saves. It is a far more accurate way to rate all relievers, not just closers. It could be used for starters as well. But I doubt there would be much enthusiasm for rocking the boat.

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