Dane Dunning got out of the first inning without allowing a run. That is rare.
He has given up 18 first-inning earned runs this season. He’s given up 37 total earned runs. That’s just under half his earned runs scoring before most fans have gotten comfortable in their seats.
Before last night, he hadn’t given up a single earned run in the fourth inning. He gave up a solo shot to Detroit’s Robbie Grossman. That was the only hit he allowed over his five innings of work. And the only earned run. Six strikeouts.
He came out of the game in line for a win. But John King blew it by giving up four runs in his two innings of work. Only to earn the win himself.
Wins were once a thing that belonged to starting pitchers. That’s why they manufactured the save stat. And the more ridiculous hold stat.
But the state of major league managing is robbing starting pitchers of their chance to get a win. First, few are allowed to finish the five innings needed. But there’s also the fact that if they did, indeed, allow a pitcher to go five or six, that still leaves three innings—a third of the game—in the hands of a parade of relievers who are very likely to give up the lead.
The chance of a 20-game winners is very rare, anymore. The chance of a 300-game career winner is gone. That will never happen again unless there is a dramatic sea shift in how the analytics departments run the pitching staffs.
Yes, the thing that matters is the team win, and the Rangers certainly, and mercifully, got that yesterday. But it’s another example of major league managers being dictated to put the fate of the game into the hands of lesser pitchers.
The game is making less and less sense these days. One can only hope common sense returns.
It must be frustrating to be a major league starter in this era. In high school and college, you were the stud. Every time they handed the ball to you, you were the one who put the team on its back and carried it to victory.
Now, you finally get to the highest level of your profession and you are no longer viewed as anything other than an interchangeable drill bit. You are simply there to get fifteen outs and turn it over the next drill bit.