The Worst Performer of the Day (Coincidentally Named O’Day) Gets the “Win”

I don’t know where all you people have been.  I’ve been diligently reporting on every Wednesday game, although I had to make everything up and then post it on a website in a parallel universe.  You folks failed to follow me, and I’m really a little angry about it.  So I came back, even though the Braves were undefeated in my personal fantasyland, as they always are.  Meanwhile, back here on Earth, the only constant is that the Mets other than deGrom make me laugh and the Marlins, not content with ruining baseball for their city, are trying to ruin it for everyone.

I have used my time off on this earthly plane productively by updating my Retrosheet database and writing hooks to answer almost any “when was the last time” question anybody might have.  It was the source of my post on the best and worst 66 day performances by batters and my comment on the last time the Braves had 11 extra base hits.  The Atlanta Braves record for extra base hits, by the way, is 12, set in this game, in which they scored 14 runs against the champs-to-be Red Sox.  I remind everyone that Atlanta finished third that year, though to be fair, they were playing Scott Thorman at 1st, which makes it pretty hard to achieve anything.  I’ll be trying to sprinkle some of these factoids into recaps. We’ll see how it goes. Anybody got a question?

So anyway, the Braves played the two earlier games in this series at Tropicana Field.  Tropicana (the orange juice, not the casinos) is owned by Pepsi, so it creates a natural rivalry with the city that Coke built.  The alltime series favors the Braves 21-13, but the Braves won 8 of the first 9 meetings, so it’s been even since the the Rays were exorcised in 2007.  The series shifted to Truist Park, which for now has the lowest average attendance over its whole history compared with any other major league park: 0.  (That figure will soon be tied by the Buffarontonians.)

My man Mike Soroka took the bump; he’s mine because I’m the only Braves Journal reader who attended his MLB debut at CitiField.  Soroka is flat out good at his job. He survived a walk and a single in the first, but then the outs just started to pile up.  A gift run was bestowed by newest Brave Travis d’Arnaud on a wild throw down to third (Travis’ brother still holds the Braves record for errors by a d’Arnaud, with 2.), but there was never any serious thought that Soroka was anything but in control.  He left after 5 1/3; four scattered singles.  But he left two men on, and O’Day came in and it was not his O’Night.  He Gryboed both in and gave up one of his own.

On the other side, Charlie Morton got the start and survived a first inning that saw RAJ thrown out at the plate by a pretty good margin on a Freeman double.  In his second confrontation with those two, a single and homer led to a 2-0 lead, squandered by d’Arnaud and O’Day (see above), but then reclaimed in the bottom of the 6th on hits from d’Arnaud, Swanson, Albies and Freddie.

In the 7th, the Braves managed not to score on back-to-back doubles by Ozuna and Camargo, but they both scored eventually an a d’Arnaud sac fly and an error by Adames.  At that point the game slowed to a crawl.  Everybody got bored and nobody scored.  Melancon showed up and pitched the 9th. We won 7-4.

I still defend my position that the win in baseball is fairly meaningless.  Of the Braves three wins this season, one went to Jhoulys Chacin who entered a game with an eight run lead, and another went to a guy who came in with a one-run lead and left two runs behind. It’s a stupid stat, and no more necessary than the game-winning-RBI, which died a merciful quick death. Not to mention that no one will ever get anywhere near Cy Young’s total, or even 300 games, ever again. Retire the stat. #ThingsIWantThatWillNeverHappen

Playing 0.500 ball. Fourth game against the Rays tomorrow.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

23 thoughts on “The Worst Performer of the Day (Coincidentally Named O’Day) Gets the “Win””

  1. There is a clause in the rule book that the official scorer is allowed to give the win to a subsequent pitcher if the pitcher of record pitches “briefly and ineffectively,” though it doesn’t do a great job of describing what exactly that means. I don’t recall ever seeing it enacted in practice.

    If I’d have been the official scorer in that game, though, I’d have been awfully tempted to hand the win to Minter. And giving A.J. Minter the win after his team had already taken the lead would clearly assuage your issues with the win as a stat.

  2. If you’re tempted to give the win to Minter (and he is clearly the single biggest surprise so far…but it’s early) why not just give it to Soroka?

  3. @2

    Well, because Soroka’s lead was blown by O’Day, so it would clearly be ridiculous to give him the win. In all seriousness, I believe the rule does require it to be a subsequent pitcher, not a previous one.

    BTW someone might wanna inform Chip that Mike Trout will be available to watch on his TV machine when he gets home from the ballpark tonight.

  4. Great job, JonathanF. I for one read and enjoyed all your recaps in the parallel universe.

    Thanks to coop, O’Dell should henceforth always be referred to as Digger.

  5. @4–I meant O’Day should henceforth be “Digger.” (Anyone named O’Dell is already called Digger.)

  6. @3, I think JonathanF is arguing that the rule as currently written is somewhat dumb. Why not give the “win” to the guy who pitched best for longest, as opposed to the vulture who waltzed in and let in a few runs?

  7. Thank you, JonathanF. I am always looking forward to your recaps and your season opener did not disappoint.
    And also welcome to the season, FF5!

  8. @6

    Yes, I know, and I pretty much agree. They should be able to give the win (if it should even be a thing) to whichever pitcher had the most to do with winning the game.

  9. Great recap, Jonathan. Thank you. As a permanent resident of someplace else, it’s a treat to visit this plane on Thursday. That JF knows how to recap a win.

    Go Georgia Pines!

    tfloyd, I blame the mid-50 Orioles.

  10. With our last good starter going tonight, we should be pulling for the next team on our schedule to have a bad testing day today. I looked ahead and saw it was the Mets, so never mind.

  11. The win is a relic from a time when starting pitchers were expected to pitch the whole game, and if they didn’t, then by golly, it better be because they had a lead so big that no bullpen could blow it.

    Wins are a pretty useless stat when it comes to important things like how much money to pay for free agents or what to give up in trade, and therefore you could justifiably round it to useless. But, 300 wins means something, and 20 wins, and 511 wins, and so on. Its use is as a marker we can use to examine how the game has evolved.

    Like quality starts, detractors always want to point to the most egregious examples to argue against wins. If you change the definition of the win, then I believe you have in fact made the stat useless. I’d rather get rid of it than change it.

  12. Say what you want about the win stat, but if someone wins 20 games this season, that guy can pitch.

  13. So what happens from here? If Folty passes through waivers, then he’ll report to the minor league camp. What do you do from there?

  14. Another Marlin tests positive. On the plus side, they should have some herd immunity in that clubhouse.

  15. These infections on sports teams are interesting case studies on Covid spread. It sounds like the Marlins players were almost all asymptomatic.

  16. @13, 14

    I’m honestly not sure why they’re interested in holding onto him, because his chances of working out his stuff to the point where he could make it back this year are virtually nil with the shortened schedule and the lack of competitive games for him to play at Gwinnett.

    And after that, you’re right that the team will surely non-tender him rather than offer him an arbitration deal.

    Maybe there’s just enough of a glimmer of hope that they want to keep their foot in the door to be able to sign him to a minor league deal with a spring training invite next year. If they release him, it would probably be impossible to do that.

  17. @11: I don’t mean to say that the Win statistic is wrong a lot of the time, or even most of the time. And nothing should be judged by its most egregious failings (although 2 out of three wins so far this year have been pretty damned egregious, and even the third one needed Dansby to single to score a run from second, which had literally nothing to do with Luke Jackson.)

    The question is: what does wins tell you that ERA doesn’t, particularly for starting pitchers, for whom ERA is just flat out more informative than wins. ERA is somewhat less informative for relief pitchers, since they are often called on to antiGrybo inherited runners and pitch in higher leverage situations generally, but wins for relievers is even less informative — really more a matter of luck than anything else. (Losses might well be more meaningful for relievers.)

    If I were to replace wins, it would simply be with the hockey three stars. Pick three stars of the game using whatever criteria the official scorer wants to use. If one of them is a pitcher, credit him with a W. If two pitchers are credited, give them both Ws. If no pitchers are credited, well, maybe it was that the offense just carried the day that day. Sorry, Jhoulis.

    Again, the comparison with the GWRBI is apt. Somebody decided to credit a hitter with what was essentially the equivalent of of a pitcher win, and GWRBI was what they came up with. It was so manifestly irrelevant (though in its best case uses it was obviously correct) that it only lasted 8 years as a stat. If pitcher wins had been created at the same time, they’d have been dumped together. So the win survives because of its venerable history. But in an era in which starting pitchers go 5 or 6 if they’re doing well, the stat is just not meaningful enough. And you can’t compare a Cy Young win to a Jacob deGrom win, and you can’t compare a Tom Glavine win to a Mike Soroka win and have any real meaning. And, like RBIs, wins are so team-dependent (deGrom again) that everyone understands they can’t be used for comparison. So what are they for?

  18. Yeah, I think once you get into reliever wins it’s pretty arbitrary most of the time. A lot of the time it’s whoever happened to be in the game when the team went ahead (as with last night). It’s just one of those things where, according to the rules, every game has to have a winning pitcher and losing pitcher. Just like in hockey, there has to be a winning goalie and a losing goalie, so a goalie can give up 5 goals and get a win or give up some sort of fluky overtime goal and lose 1-0.

    I do think if official scorers were willing to deploy the “briefly and ineffectively” clause with a slant more toward the ineffective part, they could make it a little better for bullpen games. Though it’s still pretty obvious that Soroka was the pitcher who had the most to do with us winning the game last night, and there’s no way to give him the win by the rules, so it’s an imperfect stat regardless, and something of a relic of when the starting pitcher’s longevity in an individual game was similar to a goalie’s longevity in a hockey game, to go back to the above example.

    For the record, I actually think that Luke Jackson was the pitcher who had the most to do with us winning Saturday’s game, so he deserved the win even if the win stat was liberalized to be more meaningful IMO. And if I was forced to pick which pitcher had the “most” to do with us winning Sunday, a game in which no pitcher had anything to do whatsoever with us winning, I probably would’ve picked Chacin…but in that case, to your point, maybe not every game needs a winning pitcher.

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