Should the 5-inning rule for starting pitchers to earn the win be altered?

deanx0

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So I have been thinking about the ways the MLB has changed over the years, and the tendency to pull starting pitchers before 5 innings is so much more commonplace these days, and when they do get pulled, they are ineligible to be the winning pitcher.

Take for example, the May 20th Red Sox-Mariners game that the Sox won 7-3.

Wacha pitched 4 2/3 innings letting up 2 runs (the Sox had already scored 4 in this time)
Davis came in and pitched 1 1/3 innings, letting up no runs and was credited with the win

Did Davis really deserve credit for the win more than Wacha?

My question is, if baseball is going to continue this fundamental change to how pitchers are handled, should they also look at fundamentally changing how starters can earn a win?
 

tims4wins

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I would argue that the Win and Loss statistics should be erased from the record book entirely and replaced with team win loss record in your appearances, at least for starting pitchers. Relievers wouldn't have any win/loss attached to their record so that at the end of the season when you add up the team record for every starter, it comes to 162.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? If we want to evaluate a starting pitcher in terms of how well the team does in his starts, just go with the team record in his starts.
 

tims4wins

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? If we want to evaluate a starting pitcher in terms of how well the team does in his starts, just go with the team record in his starts.
 

brs3

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Here's an idea, let the official scorer of a game designate the winning or losing pitcher. With pitchers not completing 5 innings, we often talk about the guy who keeps it close for 3 innings but gets no credit, or just the Hold stat, or the guy who pitched 2 scoreless but walked a few in his 3rd inning of work and the next guy up let them score and got stuck with the L. Give the L to the guy who let in the inherited runners. It always seemed weird to me that the guy who pitched well gets the loss simply because of the actions of the next guy. Sure, he put them on base, but he didn't let up the run scoring hit.

edit: This might lead to the 'best' pitcher of the game being somewhat arbitrary, but if you keep the 5 inning rule for the SP, it might work. It could also lead to those 5 IP pitchers getting less losses if the next guy blows up the game.
 

E5 Yaz

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. I would argue that the Win and Loss statistics should be erased from the record book entirely and replaced with team win loss record in your appearances, at least for starting pitchers. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? Relievers wouldn't have any win/loss attached to their record so that at the end of the season when you add up the team record for every starter, it comes to 162.
 

JOBU

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Here's an idea, let the official scorer of a game designate the winning or losing pitcher. With pitchers not completing 5 innings, we often talk about the guy who keeps it close for 3 innings but gets no credit, or just the Hold stat, or the guy who pitched 2 scoreless but walked a few in his 3rd inning of work and the next guy up let them score and got stuck with the L. Give the L to the guy who let in the inherited runners. It always seemed weird to me that the guy who pitched well gets the loss simply because of the actions of the next guy. Sure, he put them on base, but he didn't let up the run scoring hit.

edit: This might lead to the 'best' pitcher of the game being somewhat arbitrary, but if you keep the 5 inning rule for the SP, it might work. It could also lead to those 5 IP pitchers getting less losses if the next guy blows up the game.
Isnt that what the official scorer is already supposed to do? I was under the impression that the official scorer can deem any pitcher the winner of the starter doesn’t go 5. Is this not correct? They just almost never choose the starter, right?
 

Max Power

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. I would argue that the Win and Loss statistics should be erased from the record book entirely and replaced with team win loss record in your appearances, at least for starting pitchers. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? Relievers wouldn't have any win/loss attached to their record so that at the end of the season when you add up the team record for every starter, it comes to 162.
Kyle Bradish gets the win for the Orioles on Friday?
 

tims4wins

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Why propose a change that's worse than the original if you don't care?
Under this proposal, a 3-3 team record would be attached to Kyle Bradish. If he continues to pitch at a 7.31 ERA, my guess is the record would be horrible at the end of the season. Let the chips fall where they may.
 

E5 Yaz

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Why propose a change that's worse than the original if you don't care?
I wasn't proposing anything. I was combining fraternal twin posts of the two previous posters into one post, because I agreed with their sentiments.

But since you've ignored them and are focusing on me for some strange reason, I will say that I think pitching "wins" have outlived their usefulness as a meaningful stat, beyond traditional counting purposes.

I "care" to the extent that it would be nice if fans would evolve in the way they treat such numbers. But I don't think anymore should "care" ... certainly not enough to propose, as the tread starter did, a rule to change how a counting stat is quantified.
 

deanx0

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Isnt that what the official scorer is already supposed to do? I was under the impression that the official scorer can deem any pitcher the winner of the starter doesn’t go 5. Is this not correct? They just almost never choose the starter, right?
I believe it is not a case of "almost never" choosing the starter, but instead the starter is ineligible for the win if he goes less than 5 innings. See, I think if they decision is in the hands of the scorer, they should have the leeway to pick the starter if they want.
 

Max Power

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Under this proposal, a 3-3 team record would be attached to Kyle Bradish. If he continues to pitch at a 7.31 ERA, my guess is the record would be horrible at the end of the season. Let the chips fall where they may.
But why is that better than the current stat? I don't understand what you're looking to quantify.

Starting pitchers are throwing fewer innings, as a result their impact on team wins and losses are also lessening. It seems perfectly fair for them to be racking up no decisions when they're rarely pitching the highest leverage innings. From the standpoint of measuring a starter's effect on the game, the current criteria for getting a win seems pretty good.
 

tims4wins

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But why is that better than the current stat? I don't understand what you're looking to quantify.

Starting pitchers are throwing fewer innings, as a result their impact on team wins and losses are also lessening. It seems perfectly fair for them to be racking up no decisions when they're rarely pitching the highest leverage innings. From the standpoint of measuring a starter's effect on the game, the current criteria for getting a win seems pretty good.
"Does the team tend to win when this guy pitches", to answer your question.
 

JOBU

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I believe it is not a case of "almost never" choosing the starter, but instead the starter is ineligible for the win if he goes less than 5 innings. See, I think if they decision is in the hands of the scorer, they should have the leeway to pick the starter if they want.
I agree. I don’t think the starter should be automatically ineligible if they don’t go 5. I’m not sure how official scorers handle games where there’s an opener. Guessing the opener is considered the starter and auto ineligible for the W.
 

E5 Yaz

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"When this guy starts." An opener could rack up 40 wins on a good team.
I think you're misreading what he's saying. The opener wouldn't get credited with wins as a personal stat at all.
At least that's how I read it
 

tims4wins

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I think you're misreading what he's saying. The opener wouldn't get credited with wins as a personal stat at all.
At least that's how I read it
Right it's not really a personal stat. I mean you can do the same with relievers if you want, but then it won't add up to 162, if that means anything.

If a team uses an opener 40 times a year and they go 40-0, maybe he's effective. It's no more or less arbitrary than the current rules.
 

jon abbey

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They’ve also got to get rid of the one inning per game to qualify for league leaders, too few pitchers get to 162 innings anymore. If you miss 2-3 starts, good luck catching up.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I believe it is not a case of "almost never" choosing the starter, but instead the starter is ineligible for the win if he goes less than 5 innings. See, I think if they decision is in the hands of the scorer, they should have the leeway to pick the starter if they want.
My understanding is that the scorer only has a decision to make if the starter fails to go five but leaves with a lead that is never relinquished. If the lead changes hands (or a tie is broken) after the starter leaves, the win is assigned to the pitcher who was in the game when the go-ahead run was scored. No decision necessary.

If we absolutely have to assign a win to a pitcher, I'd rather just get rid of the five inning rule for starters and simply assign the win to the pitcher who was in the game when the winning run was scored. If it was the starter who went four innings, give it to him. If it was the guy who got the last out in the top of the ninth before a walk-off win, give it to him. But really, it's a stat that has lost any value at this point.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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My understanding is that the scorer only has a decision to make if the starter fails to go five but leaves with a lead that is never relinquished. If the lead changes hands (or a tie is broken) after the starter leaves, the win is assigned to the pitcher who was in the game when the go-ahead run was scored. No decision necessary.

If we absolutely have to assign a win to a pitcher, I'd rather just get rid of the five inning rule for starters and simply assign the win to the pitcher who was in the game when the winning run was scored. If it was the starter who went four innings, give it to him. If it was the guy who got the last out in the top of the ninth before a walk-off win, give it to him. But really, it's a stat that has lost any value at this point.
I always thought the blown save vultured win kind of reveals what a stupid stat that it is. I also think there are plenty of times where if I had to pick the pitcher that won the game, it would be starter, even if he didn't leave with the lead. You know, guy goes 7 2/3 and leave 2-2 and then his team scores in the bottom of the inning. Whatever.

More philosophically, I think what's really going on here is not that the new approach toward pitching leads to a need to change the rule or consider it. Instead, I think the current approach toward pitching has revealed something important about the game of baseball that makes it apparent we've been thinking about Ws and Ls kind of wrong. It's not just that they are obsolete but also that the way we currently arrange pitching has sort of revealed the problem.

Maybe that's a distinction without a difference. I think the thing we've sort of learned is that outs are out and the main difference between the first inning and the ninth inning is mostly drama. Those facts even further highlight the absurdity of requiring one guy to get 15 outs but permitting another guy to get the exact same statistic with one pitch.
 

Ale Xander

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They should change it from 5 innings to 4 2/3. That's still more than half the innings in a 9 inning game.
 

EddieYost

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Get rid of the 5 inning rule. It should work the same as deciding who gets the L.
 

Delicious Sponge

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The current usage of pitchers is going to last only as long as it does. At some point a team will realize that having an awesome bullpen is even more awesome if your starters can go 7 +innings, and we’ll be back where we were..
 

BigSoxFan

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. I would argue that the Win and Loss statistics should be erased from the record book entirely and replaced with team win loss record in your appearances, at least for starting pitchers. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? Relievers wouldn't have any win/loss attached to their record so that at the end of the season when you add up the team record for every starter, it comes to 162.
As a Red Sox fan, I’d like to see Win and Loss statistics de-emphasized as a team stat as well. Like, do we really need to be keeping score?
 

tims4wins

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just get rid of the five inning rule for starters and simply assign the win to the pitcher who was in the game when the winning run was scored
I’m quoting this not to shame you, but to highlight the stupidity and randomness of the current rule. If you happen to be on the mound when your team takes the lead, you get the win! It’s all so dumb and irrelevant.

For instance, you enter the game up 8-2. You get out of the inning and then your team scores 1 to go up 9-2. You then are responsible for 6 runs the following inning but your team wins 9-8. You get the win because your team scored the 9th run while you were on the mound?
 

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EDIT: Should have checked the rulebook first, I totally misread the "brief and ineffective" clause. :confused:

I'd originally said that if the starter goes fewer than five, the first reliever gets the win if the team never relinquishes the lead and the first reliever is not "ineffective in a brief appearance". As it turns out, this exclusion is meant for relievers who would otherwise be credited with a win, but where a subsequent reliever is more deserving. It's an extra unnecessary complexity that only further underscores the lunacy of the win stat.
 
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mikeford

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I'd rather see wins completely de-emphasized as an individual stat. Who gives a shit which pitcher gets credited with the win in a 7-3 game? If we want to evaluate a starting pitcher in terms of how well the team does in his starts, just go with the team record in his starts.
Yeah, I'm here. Make it 7 innings or you don't get the win and no one pitching any less than that gets the win either.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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The current usage of pitchers is going to last only as long as it does. At some point a team will realize that having an awesome bullpen is even more awesome if your starters can go 7 +innings, and we’ll be back where we were..
I doubt this. The usage of pitchers has been changed through discovering/exploiting the FACT that your starter typically has lost an edge after twice through the order, and that bringing in your fresh reliever will increase your chances of preventing runs. Almost every starter is on a short leash once they've been through the order twice. In order for managers to go "back where we were", it will have to be shown that doing so prevents more runs. Of course, managers will still occasionally rely on the eye test, but even the guy with 6 shutout innings is probably only 2-3 batters reaching base away from being yanked if it's a close game.