Yeah 2006 was funny. Pretty much textbook example of why W-L records are garbage. He won 15 games with an ERA right under 5. Not that I was complaining then but that's so ridiculous.
I just looked it up: his average run support was 5.5 runs per game.
For comparison, Matt Harvey's average run support per game in his career has been 3.1 runs per game.
Funny thing is that 5.5 RPG isn't really THAT high, in terms of run support...there are guys who have gotten more...especially in the 'Roid Era.
If you check out the game log from that incredibly fortuitous 12-1 run, you'll see that he was oddly consistent, in that most of his starts were from 5-7 innings, and he was allowing 2-4 ERs. So while he wasn't shutting anyone down, he wasn't really letting games get completely out of hand either...but he definitely benefitted from awesome run support (6.73 RPG in that 15-game, 12-1 stretch), and strong bullpen support as well. I kind of remember everyone shrugging their shoulders and saying "Well, he's finding ways to win..."
I had to look it up and put the 15-game stretch together...I know it was still the 'Roid Era, but when you look at these numbers, this could be the worst anyone's ever pitched to go 12-1:
84.2 IP, 97 H, 49 ER, 42 BB, 39 K, 16 HR, 5.21 ERA
I remember noted moron Joe Morgan, who could ALWAYS be counted on to utter idiotic things, at one point saying something along the lines of, "I'd rather have the guy who has an ERA closer to 4.00 with a winning record than a guy with a lower ERA who has a lot of losses, because the other guy is the one who knows how to win." So I guess Steve Trachsel wasn't just tremendously lucky for those 15 starts...he just knew how to win. Right Joe.
One guy who I always remember being pretty lucky was Jack Morris (winningest pitcher in the 80s). He did have his strong suits...he rarely missed his starts, threw a lot of innings (from 1980 to 1989 he threw 133 complete games), and had some big playoff games, but had a lifetime ERA of 3.90 and always seemed to benefit from strong run support. He had a way of winning 16-20 games that kind of had you saying, "How'd he do that?"
A guy who I think had a very similar career to Morris is Andy Pettitte...their numbers are actually pretty similar, except that Pettitte gave up a lot more hits per 9 IP than Morris (Pettitte was at 9.9, Morris was at 8.4). Morris had a career 254-186 record, Pettitte 255-153. Morris had a career 1.296 WHIP, Pettitte 1.352. ERAs were 3.90 for Morris (ERA+ 105), 3.86 for Pettitte (ERA+ 117). Pettitte was nowhere near the innings workhorse that Morris was, but that's also era-related. But to me, neither guy was really as good as their win totals would lead one to believe. What both were good at was taking the ball every fifth day and putting their teams in position to win on their days...provided their teams could plate four or more runs.
BTW, for those who don't know, ERA+ factors in the league average ERA for any given season, and the pitcher's ballpark. Scale is similar to some others, in that 100 is average, <100 is below average, >100 is above. We already know this guy is great, but Pedro Martinez has a career ERA+ of 154 (second all-time, behind Mariano Rivera's absurd 206) and had seasons of 200 or better five times, including four consecutive.
Not everyone near the top of the list screams greatness (John Franco is 17th all-time at 138, tied with Cy Young of all people), but it does help to flesh out ERAs, especially when trying to compare across eras. As great as Gibson's 1968 ERA was (1.12), the league ERA was just 2.99, and Gibson's ERA+ was 258 for that year...excellent number for sure, but ranks just 7th all-time. Martinez's 2000 season saw him put up an ERA+ of 291 (second all-time), for comparison's sake...he pitched to a 1.74 ERA in a league where the league average was 4.92. That is insane.
Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 26 September 2013 - 06:57 AM.