Feb 11, 2012
Stat Anomaly: 20 losses: 1973 Wilbur Wood
Here is the first 20 game loss accumulator that can be said that is based on volume rather than dearth of quality. Let's take losses out of the equation for a minute and look at his other stats from that year of 1973.
Wilbur Wood, knuckleballer extraoadinaire of the year had a record of 24-20 in 48 games started in 359 innings with a 3.46 ERA (116 ERA+), 1.31 WHIP, 199 K, 91 BB and a league leading number of batters faced, hits allowed, etc. You get the picture....he started nearly 1/3 of the White Sox's games that year, which is an incredible ratio. It's amazing that he only had 20 losses during the season. This year was also a step down from his similar, but better 1971-1972 seasons.
Let's see if he was a victim or an instigator of his 20 losses. His season started off incredibly over the 1st two months through Memorial Day, going 13-3 with a 1.71 ERA. All four of his shutouts were during this time period, and all starts except two went 8 innings or more. Somehow, he pitched in 32 games in the first half of the season and matched that with 32 decisions, going 18-14....before the all-star break. He clearly was injured or just got tired from the workload since he went 1-8 in June with a 4.43 ERA and 1.46 WHIP; the rest of the months of the year also followed a similar pattern in WHIP in ERA.
Over the course of the season, there were 6 starts in which he allowed 3 earned runs or fewer with 8 or more innings pitched and lost the game. This is not an obscenely high total for the era (just my guess), but it would have made his won-loss record a little better. This was his 3rd straight season of greater than 330 innings, and it may be the toll came upon him in June 1973.
Interestingly, he allowed what seemed to be a high amount of unearned runs (28) or the season, this is probably due to the 33 passed balls committed by the White Sox catchers that year.
His workload continued unabated for awhile, so expect to see him again in this series at some point.