The Good And Winless

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a MLB interleague baseball game. Lee took the loss as the Red Sox defeated the Phillies 5-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Three pitchers enter Friday night without a win. They should have several. Here is the tale of their woe.

It's 2012, and you're probably not a fan of pitcher wins. They're the statistical equivalent of hiding under a school desk in the event of a nuclear attack: a quaint and nostalgic look at the useless things we used to take seriously.

But I don't want to get into that one-sided debate on the Internet. If you're really interested in a defense of pitcher wins, you can check out what one of my favorite baseball writers has to say about them. But they still tell you things about a team, about a bullpen and, yes, sometimes about a starting pitcher.

It's almost May, and there are 26 pitchers who have made at least two starts without picking up a win. One of them is Chris Volstad, who just allowed a double while you were reading this. Another one is Francisco Liriano, who just walked Chris Volstad while you were reading this. You can see why they don't have a win.

There are three others, though, who don't deserve this fate. They've been pitching well. Not just well enough to win a game -- well enough to win a Cy Young if they were to maintain the same level of performance throughout a full season. A quick look at their travails:

Star-divide

Cliff Lee

Record:
0-2, 2.66 ERA, six starts

Most egregious no-decision or loss:
Easily the 10-inning masterpiece he pitched against the Giants in April. Ten innings, seven runners, one no-decision. The game was decided on a Ty Wigginton error that set up the winning run.

Proof that the bullpen hates him for being such a big-shot fancypants:
May 15, when he went eight full innings, allowing just five hits, walking one, and striking out 10. Chad Qualls pitched the ninth because $50-million man Jonathan Papelbon pitched the previous three nights, including the night before when the Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth with a four-run lead. Qualls muttered, "Screw you, Cliff Lee, all fancy-like!" under his breath as he threw hanging sinker after hanging sinker. The Phillies eventually won the game. Lee got a no-decision.

Quote from someone who thinks Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame:
"See, that's his problem. He left after the eighth like a nancy-boy! Jack Morris would have bit his manager's nose off if he tried to bring in a reliever. Literally. Look it up. Sparky Anderson has a prosthetic nose because of the Willie Hernandez Incident of 1985, I kid you not."

Star-divide

Doug Fister

Record:
0-2, 1.84 ERA, five starts

Most egregious no-decision or loss:
May 7, when he allowed four runners (and no runs) over seven innings on just 73 pitches against the Mariners.

Proof that the bullpen hates him for being such a big-shot fancypants.
Fister was pulled after 73 pitches that game because this was his first start off the disabled list. Octavio Dotel allowed three runs in the ninth inning to blow the lead and the game. He threw fifteen pitches, walking Brendan Ryan (first walk of career) and Ichiro (third walk of career, including his Pacific League statistics) on nine pitches. They both scored after a wild pitch, a passed ball, a double, a bunt, and a fly ball. There was literally one thing that the Mariners did on their own.

Quote from someone who thinks Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame:
"He went on the DL with a 'trunk strain'? A problem with his costochondral? I once watched Jack Morris remove his own costochondral with a shoehorn and a Gatorade jug in '85, and he got the win as he staunched the blood with a rosin bag glued to his side."

Star-divide

Ryan Dempster

Record:
0-2, 2.28 ERA, seven starts

Most egregious no-decision or loss:
May 3, when he allowed three hits and a walk over eight innings, and left with 101 pitches after eight innings.

Proof that the bullpen hates him for being such a big-shot fancypants.
Same game. Carlos Marmol allowed the exact same number of base runners, just with 24 fewer outs. That was the last game Marmol would close. Rafael Dolis, the ostensible new closer, came in, blowing the save and taking the loss.

Quote from someone who thinks Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame:
"A goatee? Ryan Dempster has a goatee? Oh là là. Guess we'll just grab a baguette and some brie and chassé up the Rhine to watch this game. Hope the game doesn't end in an extra-innings surrender. A goatee. Come on. WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH A NICE, CLEAN, AMERICAN MUSTACHE??"

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