Big League Stew

Twenty-eight starts later, Jo-Jo Reyes still hasn’t won a game

Ian Casselberry
Big League Stew

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Jo-Jo Reyes is the anti-Jose Bautista.

While his teammate puts up MVP-caliber numbers for the Toronto Blue Jays, establishing himself as the best hitter in baseball and showing that last season's 54-homer breakout was no fluke, Reyes ties a major league record by going 28 straight starts without recording a victory.

Reyes (or "Mojo Jojo," as Dirk Hayhurst called him) earned his ignominious share of major league history on Wednesday when he gave up five runs on five hits and two walks in three innings of work against the New York Yankees. He was pulled from the game with the Blue Jays down 5-0, which allowed him to join Cliff Curtis (1910-11) and Matt Keough (1978-79) as the only pitchers to make 28 consecutive starts without earning a pitcher's win.

Wednesday's effort was Reyes' worst start of the season, which might indicate that he did exactly what he told the New York Times he couldn't do.

"It's almost funny now," Reyes said. "If I do everything that I'm supposed to do, it'll come. Once I start pressuring myself about it, that's when I'll get in trouble."

Did Reyes let the record get into his head and put pressure on himself to avoid breaking it? It certainly looks that way, with the Yankees taking a 1-0 lead after their first two batters went to the plate. Reyes gave up a leadoff double to Derek Jeter, threw a wild pitch that advanced him to third, then allowed another double to Curtis Granderson. {YSP:MORE}

The last pitcher to string 27 winless starts together was Anthony Young, who did so with the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs from 1992 to 1994.

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Reyes' streak dates back to 2008 when he pitched for the Atlanta Braves. To be more exact, it was June 13, 2008 when he got the win in an interleague game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Reyes might have set the record sooner, but he only appeared in one game with the Braves last season. Pitching in relief of Jair Jurrjens last April, Reyes gave up nine runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings. He ended up spending the rest of the year in Double-A and Triple-A, where he won two games in 12 starts.

Reyes is 0-4 record with a 4.7o ERA for the Blue Jays this season. Over the entire 28-game streak, he's 0-13 with a 5.74 ERA and only eight quality starts. Yet despite pitching game after game without earning a win, Reyes seemed to keep the streak in perspective. As he told the Times' Tyler Kepner, he realizes there is only so much a starting pitcher can control. He may have gone 28 games without a win, but at least his teams have won eight games during that stretch:

"When you mature, you realize what's most important: giving your team a chance to win, saving the bullpen and putting up a quality start," Reyes said Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. "As long as I give the team a chance to win, that's all you can ask for as a starting pitcher."

Here's hoping Reyes can maintain that zen outlook now that he's taken a place in baseball history.

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