Dodgers win 17 of Billingsley's starts
Chad Billingsley ... 17 winning starts
Chad Billingsley ... 17 winning starts
Pubisher
Posted Jan 14, 2010


The fact the Dodgers are looking for new starters in 2009 after they lost a third of their 95 wins that were recorded Randy Wolf, Vincente Padilla, Jon Garland and Jonathan Schmidt. Wolf topped the charts, allowing the Dodgers to win 22 of his 34 starts and tying him for 16th on the all-time wins list.

The two youngest starters on the staff, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw broke even last year. Billingsley's record was 17-15 and Kershaw's 14-16. Hiroki Kuroda, after and injury-plagued season, finished 12-8. No other Dodger was in double figures.

This essay is about team won-lost record per start, not the actual record the pitcher put in the official guide. The theory is, if a starter pitches well enough to keep the opponents close and the team wins, even if he does not get the victory, he is credited with a "win."

It also proves again that a pitchers actual won-lost record is a disastrous way to determine the worth of a starter.

The amount of runs per start shows which pitchers profited from the club's offense and which ones suffered from lack of support.

James McDonald, for example, pitched well enough to win three of his four starts, but a closer look at the Run Support he had tells the tale. The youngster was given a booming eight runs per start and 9.33 in his winning starts.

Eric Stults and Vincente Padilla both had strong won-lost marks and equally abundant run support.

On the other side of the coin, Jeff Weaver came in just a bit over the break-even point, winning four of his seven starts. But overall, he had only 3.71 runs per game to work with and in his losses, he was almost abandoned, given an average of 1.33 each.

Run support is obviously not an exact science. It records the number of runs each pitcher receives per start but the runs each starter gets are the teams final total, not runs scored while the starter was in the game.

Therefore, while Wolf was given nearly five runs per game, had the bullpen been a bit more helpful he could have added to his final figures. He tied for the league-lead with 16 no-decisions (Kershaw was right behind him with 14) and a number of them saw Wolf turning the game over to the pen with a lead but watching it get away.

Not all of the Dodgers 16 blown saves game with Wolf as the starter of record, but he suffered through well more than he deserved.

Kershaw's record is also deceiving. He won 14 of his 30 starts despite finishing 11th on the Dodgers 12 man staff in run support. In eight of those starts he was given one run or less but won two of them despite that. Overall, he had less than two runs per loss to work with.

On the following charts, it is obvious that the more runs a pitcher received, the more chance the team has to record a win. They might fluctuate from season to season but, for the most part, the pitcher who gets an abundance of runs, obviously finishes the season with an abundance of team wins. And generally a good pitcher seems to receive the best from his hitters over the length of the season.

The won-lost record below pertains to the team record in each pitcher's start.

 2008 Run support chart

                  w-l  starts runs    RS   wins  losses
McDonald	 3-1     4    32   8.00   9.33   4.00
Stults	         7-3    10    67   6.70   8.14   3.33
Padilla	         6-1     7    39   5.57   5.83   4.00
Wolf	        22-12   34   169   4.99   5.73   3.58
Kuroda 	        12-8    20    99   4.95   6.67   2.38
Schmidt	         2-2     4    19   4.75   6.00   3.50
Milton	         3-2     5    23   4.60   7.00   1.00
Haeger	         2-1     3    15   4.60   5.50   4.00
Billingsley 	17-15   32   141   4.41   6.47   2.67   
Garland  	 3-3     6    26   4.33   6.67   2.00
Kershaw 	14-16   30   124   4.13   6.64   1.94
Weaver	         4-3     7    26   3.71   5.58   1.33
---------------------------------------------------
2009 total	95-67  162  780   4.81   6.47   2.46
2008 total	84-78  162  700   4.32   6.31   2.02    
2007 total	82-80  162  735   4.54   6.18   2.70
Dodgers jump to 5th in NL Scoring
Los Angeles jumped from 13th in the league in 2008 to fourth in 2009. Their 4.81 runs per game trailed only Philadelphia, Colorado (who has led the National League West the past two seasons) and Milwaukee.

The Cubs topped the National League last year with a 5.31 mark but dropped to seventh place in 2009. Philadelphia and New York tied for second at 4.93 in 2008 but the Phillies improved to 5.06 to top the league while the Mets slid into eighth place at 4.38.

The National League went up just over a 10th of a run per game from 4.43 to 4.64.

2009 N.L. Run Support

	        gm    runs    ave  
Philadelphia 	162     820   5.06
Colorado 	162     804   4.96
Milwaukee 	162     785   4.85
Los Angeles 	162     780   4.81
Florida 	162     772   4.72

Cincinnati 	162     763   4.71
Chicago 	161     707   4.39 
New York 	162     671   4.38
Atlanta 	162     735   4.54
St. Louis 	162     730   4.51

Arizona 	162     720   4.44
Washington 	161     710   4.38
San Francisco 	162     657   4.06
Houston 	161     643   3.97
Pittsburgh 	161     636   3.95
San Diego 	162     638   3.94
----------------------------------
 2008 totals  1294   11741   4.54
 2009 totals  1295   11481   4.43
Koufax is King
It is no surprise that Koufax holds the all-time won-lost record, pitching his club to an unbelievable 34-6 record during his 1966 starts in his final season. Drysdale posted a 31-10 mark in 1962, the first season in Dodger Stadium and Koufax's 31-10 in 1965 is third overall and gave him a 65-15 record over his final two seasons.

Tom Lovitt of the 1890 Brooklyn Dodgers was 32-12, the only Brooklyn player to crack the 30-win mark. Kirby Higbe (29-9, 1941) and Jeff Pfeffer (29-12, 1916) are second on the chart.

Run Support 21+ winning starts

34- 6  Sandy Koufax, 1963
31-10  Don Drysdale, 1962
31-11  Sandy Koufax, 1965
28-13  Sandy Koufax, 1966
28-11  Andy Messersmith, 1974

26-14  Don Sutton, 1974
25- 9  Orel Hershiser, 1985
25- 9  Hideo Nomo, 2002
25-17  Don Drysdale, 1965
24- 9  Orel Hershiser, 1988
23-15  Claude Osteen, 1966
23-10  Brad Penny, 2007 

22-18	Don Drysdale, 1966 
22-15	Jerry Reuss, 1982
22-13	Bob Welch, 1987
22-11	Ramon Martinez, 1990
22-13	Kevin Brown, 1999
22-12	Randy Wolf, 2009

21-13  Fernando Valenzuela, 1986
21-11  Kevin Brown, 2000

  Los Angeles Run Support
5.71  Kazahira Ishii 2004 (19-12)
5.66  Darren Dreifort 1999 (20-12)
5.62  Orel Hershiser 1991 (16-5)
5.59  Darren Dreifort 1999 (14-15)
5.42  Brad Penny 2005 (20-13)

5.38  Ramon Martinez 1994 (15-9)
5.38  Luke Prokopec 2001 (13-10)
5.33  Darren Dreifort 2000 (20-12)
5.33  Eric Gagné 2001 (11-13)
5.27  Chan Ho Park 1999 (17-16)

5.23  Ramon Martinez 1997 (15-7)
5.13  Claude Osteen, 1966 (23-15)
5.09  Kevin Gross, 1993 (14-18)
5.09  Chan Ho Park, 1999 (20-14)
5.06  Hideo Nomo, 1997 (18-15)
5.06  Sandy Koufax, 1966 (28-13)


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