Mike Maroth earned a dubious spot in baseball’s record books last season, and has been doing his best this year to atone for it.
Maroth went 9-21 last season for a Tigers squad that lost 119 games, becoming the first 20-game loser since Brian Kingman in 1980. However, he allowed just six hits in 6 2-3 innings of Monday’s 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, snapping a four-decision losing streak and improving to 11-11 with two starts remaining.
“He pitched out of three jams tonight,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “This guy should have a lot more wins, but we don’t give him any runs.”
Only seven of the 31 pitchers to lose 20 games since 1960 have posted a winning record the following season. Phil Neikro was the last to do it, going from 16-20 in 1977 and 19-18 the following season. Wilbur Wood and Steve Carlton are among the other pitchers to accomplish the feat.
“It would be a nice way to rebound off a season like that,” Maroth said.
The Tigers lost 3-0 to the Orioles on Saturday for their fourth straight defeat and sixth in seven games. They did not get a hit against Matt Riley until Carlos Pena singled with two outs in the fifth.
“I don’t ever remember squeeze bunting,” Roberts said. “But when you’re in that situation it’s a call you look for. I was just lucky to get the bat on it, and Larry (Bigbie) was fast enough to score easily.”