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Baseball: Mike Mussina?

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posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:36 PM
Let me put up one other guy for discussion as a potential candidate for inclusion with Pedro, Clemens, Randy Johnson and Maddux, among the all-time greatest pitchers who are currently active and in the twilight of their careers.

Mike Mussina.

The OBVIOUS argument against him is E.R.A. His career E.R.A. is 3.64, which obviously is nothing special, but he's pitched his entire career with the Orioles and the Yankees, whose home parks are brutal on right-handed pitchers. Does this fact reflect itself in his Career Adjusted E.R.A.?

Somewhat, but not a lot. His career adjusted E.R.A. is 125, which means he's been 25% better than the average pitchers of his time, AFTER his brutal home parks are factored in. Change that to 24% and it's exactly HALF of Lefty Grove's margin of superiority. Clemens is 43% above his peers, after park adjustments, which is enormously better than Mussina's 25%. Maddux is 38% better than his peers after park adjustments, which basically is 50% better than Mussina. Randy Johnson is at 42%.

So if you go by E.R.A., which pretty much everyone agrees is the biggest criterion for judging pitchers, and whether you use straight E.R.A. or Adjusted E.R.A., Mussina isn't close to his greatest peers.

But should it be that simple?

Mussina really is a moose and is 100 games above .500 in his career. That's one less than Marichal was, and a lot more than Bob Gibson was. It's a hell of a lot more than Curt Schilling is.

Isn't there something to be said for the concept a pitcher can pitch just well enough to win? Did he really get to be 228-128 by dumb luck? I mean, the guy has an outside shot at 300 wins and is pitching just fine this year.

Will I ever rate him with Clemens, Big Unit, Pedro or Maddux? No, extremely unlikely, no and no. But, in light of his 228-128 record, I'm wondering if some other baseball fans do. It's pretty hard to argue with that W-L record, and after 356 career decisions, it's pretty hard to dismiss the whole thing as a lucky fluke.


posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:44 PM
my theory although flawed is that if you can win twice as many or close to twice as many games as you lose then you deserve some recognition. Mussina is definately good, but i don't know that i could rank him up there with a Clemens, Martinez, or Maddux. Yet. If he's got a couple years left and does some really good stuff he may be considered for immortalization, but not quite yet. When he get's that record to 256-128 then we'll talk. Of course i just threw my whole ERA is the stat to go by theory out the window, but sometimes you have to make exceptions.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 09:16 PM
Well, a won-loss ratio of 2-1 is pretty hard to find. The ONLY member of the 300 Club who sports such a record is, you guessed it, Lefty Grove. Include 200 game winners, but exclude pitchers who never pitched after 1899, and here's what the club looks like:

1. Pedro Martinez, .706

2. Whitey Ford, .690

3. Lefty Grove, .680

That's it. That's the entire list of 200-game winners with at least a 2-1 ratio of wins to losses. In case you're interested, if Babe Ruth had enough wins to qualify (and he's not close, doesn't even have 100), his W-L % would be on this list at .671. His Adjusted ERA, however, shows he wasn't anywhere near the pitcher these other guys were.


posted on May, 4 2006 @ 04:24 PM
Dear Aegis Fang,

By the way, another pitcher who WAS above a 2-1 ratio of wins to losses, after the 2002 and even 2003 seasons, was Randy Johnson. After 2002, he was 224-106, and could have gone 0-6 and still had a 2-1 ratio of wins to losses.

But he did considerably more than go 0-6. He went 6-8 in 2003--which put him at 230-114, and kept him barely above 2-1 at that time. Then he went 16-14 in 2004, and fell well below a 2-1 ratio.

His up-to-date record is 267-138, so he has to win 9 in a row--beginning, perhaps, with his start against nemesis Tampa Bay tonight--to get to 276-238, and get himself back to 2-1.


posted on May, 5 2006 @ 10:55 PM
Let me add something to the bit about Mussina's W-L record, a record which is vastly better than one would expect, given both his career E.R.A. and his career Adjusted E.R.A.

I'm sure most of you remember Clemens' 2001 season with the Yankees. He won the Cy Young Award, but if you go by E.R.A., he didn't come close to deserving it and was only the second best pitcher on his own TEAM. His E.R.A. was 3.51 and his Adjusted E.R.A. was 128; Mussina's E.R.A. was 3.15 and his Adjusted E.R.A. was 142.


Clemens W-L record, late in the season, was 20-1. (!!!)

He somehow lost 2 games to the woebegone Tampa Bay Bozos right at the end, and wound up at 20-3. That was too bad, because he'd had a shot at setting a record for W-L % by a 20+ game winner that would have been very hard to break. But still...

Going by E.R.A., he had a good year, but nothing more. However, I do not believe it was a season-long succession of miracles which got him that 20-3 record. I believe there is such a thing--especially among pitchers who are both great and extremely experienced--as pitching well enough to win.

I do not believe that's what 29-year-old Bob Gibson did when he gave up 3 HR's and 5 earned runs, but managed to win by a 7-5 margin in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series. But I DO believe that's why Roger Clemens was 20-3 in 2001. Was he lucky? Sure. But would other pitchers, starting all of those same games, getting the same run support and having the same "stuff" Clemens had in his various outings, have come out of the season with a 20-3 record?

I really doubt it.


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