Feb 22, 2011
Stat Anomaly: 20 Losses in a Season: Clyde Wright
Clyde Wright was a pitcher for the Angels from 1966-1973. They may have seen the writing on the wall for the end of his career since in 1973, at the age of 32 he was 11-19, though still with a respectable 3.68 ERA. The portent for what was to come came in the figures of his WHIP rising from 1.23 to 1.36. His K:BB ratio falling below 1 at 0.87 and his K/9 falling to an incredibly low 2.3 K/9 (65 K in 257 innings). He seemed to succeed because he didn't allow many HRs, suggesting he was a sinkerball type pitcher (I have never seem him pitch).
In 1974, he left for greener pastures in Milwaukee to be a part of the cult of the yellow "M" under the young Bud Selig and suffered a fate that all pitchers strive to avoid, a 20 loss season.
In retrospect, 1974 was a better season than 1973 with an improved K/9 and BB/9. However, he did allow 264 hits in 232 innings, keeping his WHIP at an unsustainable 1.37. Let's examine which games pushed him through the veil of 19.
On closer examination, he was a hard-luck loser in terms of which games he earned losses. There were 7 starts in which he pitched 8 or more innings and allowed 3 runs or less and received a loss. He had 15 complete games, 4 of which ended with his offense being shut out.
On the other hand, there were also 4 losses in which he did not make it out of the third inning without being chased from the mound. Like many pitchers of the time period, unless he had been stung unusually hard at the onset of a start, he pitched as many innings as he could until his tendons were screaming for ice. Clyde Wright was a gamer and some days he had his stuff and some days he didn't. But, his record for the days in question didn't always match how well he pitched.