These are the 'worst' pitcher wins of 2020

7 pitchers who really have something to be thankful for

November 24th, 2020

It’s time to take stock of what we’re thankful for. Every baseball fan is familiar with certain moments, outcomes and games attributed to luck -- things that feel extra worthy of gratefulness. Sometimes, it’s a ball that seems like a certain flyout off the bat carrying for a homer. Other times, it’s a pitcher earning the win on a day he wasn’t at his best.

A win that’s particularly worthy of thanks can happen due to extreme run support, a lucky bounce or a number of other baseball occurrences.

With those concepts in mind, here are seven times this season a pitcher had reason to give thanks.

, ARI: Aug. 5 vs. Astros
Stats: 5 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB
Final score: ARI 14, HOU 7

Ray allowed six runs to the Astros in this game, the most by any pitcher in a game he won this season. He also allowed five extra-base hits, tied for the most in a win. But it didn’t matter -- the D-backs scored 14 runs on the day, including nine in the fourth inning, which put Ray in a position to get the win after he departed following the fifth inning.

After Ray allowed three runs in the second and one in the fourth, the D-backs trailed, 4-0, entering the bottom of the frame. That’s when Kole Calhoun started the scoring with an inside-the-park homer. Five other RBI hits later, the D-backs led, 9-4, and they wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the game. The nine-run inning was the D-backs’ largest since the start of the 2018 season. Even though Ray allowed another two runs on a George Springer homer in the fifth, it didn’t matter thanks to the run support he received.

, TOR: Aug. 19 at Orioles
Stats: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB
Final score: TOR 5, BAL 2

The nine hits Roark allowed were tied for the most in a win in 2020. But he allowed just two runs -- one earned -- the fewest among the four pitchers to win a game when allowing nine hits this year. He allowed multiple hits in three innings, including the fourth, when he allowed four hits and the Orioles scored both of their runs.

He allowed at least a hit in every inning but the third, and a scroll through his outing’s play-by-play is the definition of the phrase “in and out of trouble the whole game.” In the first, a fielder’s choice after an Anthony Santander double and a Chance Sisco walk led to Sisco being thrown out at home. In the second, he allowed singles to Dwight Smith Jr. and Pat Valaika to start the inning, before retiring the next three batters in order. Even the inning where the two runs scored could’ve led to more, ending on a bases-loaded double play that saw Valaika out at home on a throw from Teoscar Hernández.

Roark’s final inning of work featured two singles and a passed ball after two quick, easy popouts, but then a fly ball ended the threat. When Roark threw his final pitch of the day, the Jays trailed, 2-1. But a two-run homer from Randal Grichuk in the bottom of the fifth, with Roark still the pitcher of record, gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish -- and put Roark in the win column.

, SF: Aug. 20 vs. Angels
Stats: 5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB
Final score: SF 10, LAA 5

Gausman allowed nine hits, tied for the most by a pitcher in a win this season, but only two were extra-base knocks, and he was able to mostly limit damage -- all while the Giants scored in double figures. Gausman allowed multiple hits in three of the innings he pitched. He allowed a run in the first on an Anthony Rendon single; the next two runs came in the fifth on an RBI single and an RBI groundout. The final run, hit and extra-base hit he allowed came in the sixth on an Anthony Bemboom solo home run, which ended Gausman’s afternoon. Still, the Giants led, 9-4, en route to a 10-5 win behind a three-hit day from Wilmer Flores that included a homer.

, OAK: Aug. 21 vs. Angels
Stats: 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 R
Final score: OAK 5, LAA 3

Fiers only gave up three runs in this start, but it makes the list due to the 12 baserunners he allowed -- the most of any winning pitcher in 2020. In five-plus innings of work, Fiers had just a single 1-2-3 inning. He allowed a run in the fifth on a Rendon single, and the other two runs scored on Mike Trout's two-run single after the righty was off the mound.

Despite those three runs, the A’s never trailed in the game. Marcus Semien hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first and Stephen Piscotty tacked on a two-run double later in the inning. The A’s extended their lead in the fifth on RBI hits from Matt Olson and Piscotty. All of that put Fiers in line for the win.

, SEA: Aug. 25 at Padres
Stats: 5 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB
Final score: SEA 8, SD 3

Gonzales also tied for the most hits by a pitcher in a win in 2020 with nine. Of those, five were extra-base hits, also tied for the most. Gonzales allowed at least a hit in every inning he pitched, including four in the third. Those included an Eric Hosmer two-run homer and a Ty France RBI double, but the Mariners still led, 4-3, after the inning.

, TEX: Sept. 8 vs. Angels
Stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB
Final score: TEX 7, LAA 1

Lynn’s line doesn’t look too worthy of thankfulness, at first glance. He went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits. But there’s another layer to this one: Lynn hit three batters with pitches. That was the most by any pitcher in a win this season. No pitcher has gotten a win in a game with more hit by pitches since John Lackey hit four on July 25, 2017, for the Cubs. Control may not have been Lynn’s strength on that September evening against the Angels, but in the end it didn’t matter as Lynn slipped in and out of trouble. The only run Lynn allowed on the day was a solo homer from Jared Walsh. Thanks to seven runs from his offense, he ended up in the win column easily, despite the errant pitches.

, WSH: Sept. 27 vs. Mets
Stats: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 0 BB
Final score: WSH 15, NYM 5

On the final day of the regular season Voth allowed nine hits, with five going for extra bases, tied for the most by a pitcher in a win this past season. He allowed four runs but it didn’t end up mattering much, since the Nationals scored six runs off Mets starter Seth Lugo, who didn’t make it out of the second inning, and totaled 15 on the day. At the point when Voth left the game to start the sixth, the Nationals led, 12-4, though the Mets outhit the Nationals, 12-11, in part due to the nine he allowed.