I find myself often wondering about unlucky pitchers. They are so often tagged for things that aren’t really their fault. Pitchers are the only players who have the team’s wins and losses as an integral part of their stats. For example, Randy Johnson had about 5 of the unluckiest games in a row in 1999.
I did a search to see if a team has ever lost a game after its starter had thrown at least 7 innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Not in the last 50 years. Okay, how about 6 innings. Nada. 5 innings? Nope. 4 innings? Yes, but only one. (And he was a Mariner, wouldn’t you know it?) The box score information doesn’t say if he was hurt or if he had a high pitch count already, but Matt Young was lifted after 4 innings on October 1st, 1983. Despite not allowing a walk or a hit, he ended up with the loss because the M’s were down 1-0 at that point. How?
In the top of the 4th, after getting the first batter to ground out, Carlton Fisk reached on an error by the third baseman. He then went to third when the next play was also an error on the third baseman. After a strikeout, Fisk scored on a passed ball by the catcher, and hey presto! Down 1-0 on no hits, no walks and no ER. Young struck out the next batter to get out of the inning, but the M’s went on to lose 9-3. The lesson here? You won’t lose if your pitcher can keep from giving up a hit or a walk for at least the first 4 innings. Unless you’re the Mariners.