clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matt Garza and the quest for 20 losses

Wins and losses don't really matter when judging pitchers, but Matt Garza has a chance to reach a difficult feat.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Every now and then when I'm bored or have nothing else to do, I'll sometimes surf around Baseball Reference and see if anything interesting pops up. The other day I was looking in their 'frivolities' section, and noticed they had a list of 20-game losers.

It's something that doesn't happen to often, as you might expect. The last pitcher to lose 20 games was Mike Maroth in 2003. Before that, you'd have to go all the way back to 1980 to start finding 20-game losers. Which makes some sense: Wins and losses aren't good statistics when judging the effectiveness of a pitcher. We all know that. But at the same time, a pitcher who is losing 20+ games can be expected to be having a pretty poor season.

That's not always true, though, and if you look at that list of 20-game losers, you'll see a lot of guys who actually had pretty decent years. To reach 20+ losses, you'd need a lot to break right -- or wrong. Either you'd need to be a guy who is good enough to stay in the rotation but hasn't gotten any run support, or you'd need to be bad enough but on a team with no other options to have start in your place, or something along the lines of either of those.

Kyle Lohse looked like he might have a chance at 20 losses this year as he accumulated 13 in 22 starts. However, he was so bad the Brewers moved him to the bullpen. So Lohse likely won't have a shot at being the second player in 35 years with 20 losses.

Matt Garza, on the other hand, might have an outside shot. Under control for another couple of years, Garza's spot in the rotation is secure for now. However, he's had a very poor year with a 4.95 ERA 1.48 WHIP. That's led him to 12 losses so far in 20 starts. The Brewers have 49 games left, so we can assume he'll have about 10 starts remaining. That means he'd need to lose 8 of those 10 to reach 20 losses. Probably not doable. He probably won't reach Clyde Wright's franchise record of 19 losses, set in 1974, either.

Wins and losses don't matter, but neither really do cycles and no hitters and loads of other things. That doesn't mean they can't lead to some fun facts and trivia. I think it's pretty interesting how few 20+ losers there have been in recent history, and the Brewers have a small chance to have one this year. That's kind of neat, in a way.