As most people realize by know, individual won-loss records for pitchers are misleading at best, and slanderous at worst. As if they're the only ones on the field when a game is won or lost!
Shaun Marcum of the New York Mets hasn't pitched like it, but his record coming into his start Wednesday was 0-9. Marcum is no Anthony Young, who infamously lost 27 straight decisions during 1992 and 1993 but, like Young, he didn't deserve to be saddled with all of those L's. That's why The Stew is happy to report that the Mets beat the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, and Marcum got the "W." Huzzah!
Marcum pitched eight shutout innings, and the Mets offense came through with support in a 3-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. If Marcum had dropped to 0-10, he would have been the first pitcher since Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals in 2007 to do so. Phew. Via the Associated Press:
''I wouldn't call it breaking the ice, I'd call it contributing, finally,'' Marcum said. ''It's nice to be able to do that every now and again. The guys played great behind me. Omar (Quintanilla) made some unbelievable plays, David (Wright) made some great play, Bucky (catcher John Buck) throwing a guy out at second.
''If I didn't have those guys behind me, it probably wouldn't have looked as good as it did.''
His comments mentioning teammates are prescient, because they are a reminder that baseball is a team game. Winning and losing, almost always, is too much to put on one player. Marcum has a 5.08 ERA this season, so he's not doing as well as he used to with the Brewers and Blue Jays, but he's not "0-10 bad."
In his two most recent starts, Marcum actually did pitch poorly, posting a 9.58 ERA. But over his 13 appearances and 11 starts this season — by checking advanced stats such as Fielding Independent Pitching and expected FIP — Marcum has pitched better than his record. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has been encouraging, too. As long as the Mets deliver run support, Marcum should be in line for an improved record (which, sadly, will matter come contract time because some teams still mistakenly care about it too much. Slander!)