Best and worst Indians pitching seasons, by expected wins

Jason Miller

Last week, we looked at how the 2013 staff performed in regards to Expected wins vs. Expected Losses. Next we peek at some of the top performances over the past 45 seasons.

Why am I looking at 45 seasons, you ask? I chose to make the cutoff the introduction of the divisional era in 1969. That's also the year the pitcher's mound was lowered, after Bob Gibson and friends made a mockery of MLB hittIng the year before. In those 45 seasons, there have been a total of 235 players who started at least one game for the Tribe, resulting in 491 separate pitching seasons, 166 of which included 20+ starts by the pitcher.

If you recall, an expected win (xWin) is a start in which a pitcher posts a Game Score of 55+, while a Game Score of 45 or below is an expected loss (xLoss), while starts with a Game Score between those two figures is an expected no decision.

Here are the top single-season xWin totals for the Indians since 1969:

Year

Starts

xW

xND

xL

Gaylord Perry

1972

40

33

5

2

Gaylord Perry

1974

37

29

2

6

Sam McDowell

1970

39

28

4

7

Sam McDowell

1969

38

27

3

8

Charles Nagy

1992

33

23

4

6

Gaylord Perry

1973

41

22

8

11

Len Barker

1982

33

22

3

8

Wayne Garland

1977

38

20

5

13

Dick Tidrow

1972

34

20

7

7

CC Sabathia

2007

34

20

7

7

Dennis Eckersley

1977

33

20

4

9

Bert Blyleven

1984

32

20

8

4

Fausto Carmona

2007

32

20

4

8

Ubaldo Jimenez

2013

32

20

4

8

Cliff Lee

2008

31

20

5

6

Bartolo Colon

2000

30

20

2

8

Here are the actual win, loss, an no decision totals for those 16 seasons:

Year

Starts

W

ND

L

Gaylord Perry

1972

40

24

0

16

Gaylord Perry

1974

37

21

3

13

Sam McDowell

1970

39

20

8

11

Sam McDowell

1969

38

18

6

14

Charles Nagy

1992

33

17

6

10

Gaylord Perry

1973

41

19

3

19

Len Barker

1982

33

15

7

11

Wayne Garland

1977

38

13

6

19

Dick Tidrow

1972

34

13

6

15

CC Sabathia

2007

34

19

8

7

Dennis Eckersley

1977

33

14

6

13

Bert Blyleven

1984

32

19

6

7

Fausto Carmona

2007

32

19

5

8

Ubaldo Jimenez

2013

32

13

10

9

Cliff Lee

2008

31

22

6

3

Bartolo Colon

2000

30

15

7

8

Yes. You read that right. Every one of the 40 starts Gaylord Perry made in 1972 resulted in a win or a loss. He didn't have any no-decisions. And that poor offense in 1972 actually cost him quite a bit, a -9 on the win side and +14 on the loss side. Also, from 1972 to 1974, Perry made 118 starts and received a no-decision in only 6 games, incredible! Ubaldo had 10 no-decisions last year, a fairly high number. But that is because for the first half of the season, he was having a tough time getting into the sixth inning, which increases the likelihood of a swing in the score.

Here are some the worst seasons, ranked by expected losses:

Year

Starts

xW

xND

xL

Neal Heaton

1984

34

9

3

22

Dick Tidrow

1973

40

15

6

19

Ken Schrom

1987

29

7

3

19

Neal Heaton

1985

33

11

5

17

Tom Candiotti

1987

32

9

6

17

Charles Nagy

1998

33

8

8

17

Lary Sorensen

1982

30

6

7

17

Justin Masterson

2012

34

15

3

17

Rick Waits

1979

34

12

6

16

Ken Schrom

1986

33

10

7

16

Fausto Carmona

2009

24

5

4

15

Ryan Drese

2002

26

4

7

15

Jeremy Sowers

2008

22

3

4

15

Dwight Gooden

1999

22

4

4

14

And the actual results for those seasons:

Year

Starts

W

ND

L

Neal Heaton

1984

34

12

8

14

Dick Tidrow

1973

40

14

10

16

Ken Schrom

1987

29

6

10

13

Neal Heaton

1985

33

9

8

16

Tom Candiotti

1987

32

7

7

18

Charles Nagy

1998

33

15

8

10

Lary Sorensen

1982

30

10

5

15

Justin Masterson

2012

34

11

8

15

Rick Waits

1979

34

16

5

13

Ken Schrom

1986

33

14

12

7

Fausto Carmona

2009

24

5

7

12

Ryan Drese

2002

26

10

7

9

Jeremy Sowers

2008

22

4

9

9

Dwight Gooden

1999

22

3

15

4

Ubaldo Jimenez was actually worse than Masterson in 2012, but had more no-decisions (xW: 7-10-14, W: 9-5-17). I am not sure how Gooden managed to get 15 no-decisions in 22 starts, but there you have it.

To complete the data, here are the top pitchers, career since 1969:

Years

Starts

xW

xND

xL

CC Sabathia

2001-08

237

122

44

71

Charles Nagy

1990-2002

297

121

56

120

Gaylord Perry

1972-75

133

94

15

24

Tom Candiotti

1986-91, 1999

174

87

37

50

Cliff Lee

2002-09

178

84

30

64

Bartolo Colon

1997-2002

160

82

27

51

Greg Swindell

1986-91, 1996

154

78

16

60

Rick Waits

1975-82

187

75

27

85

Sam McDowell

1969-71

108

74

11

23

Jake Westbrook

2001-08, 2010

179

72

29

78

Len Barker

1979-83

134

68

19

47

Justin Masterson

2009-13

135

63

25

47

Bert Blyleven

1981-85

103

63

18

22

Fausto Carmona

2006-12

153

58

36

59

Dennis Eckersley

1975-77

87

51

10

26

Dave Burba

1998-2002

127

50

32

45

And the worst career records since 1969:

Years

Starts

xW

xND

xL

Neal Heaton

1982-86

99

28

20

51

Jaret Wright

1997-2002

96

34

17

45

Wayne Garland

1977-81

88

32

12

44

Paul Byrd

2006-08

84

24

20

40

Jeremy Sowers

2006-09

71

20

13

38

Ken Schrom

1986-87

62

17

10

35

Scott Bailes

1986-89

59

18

9

32

David Huff

2009-12

52

12

11

29

Milt Wilcox

1972-74

48

11

8

29

Dan Spillner

1979-81, 1984

56

17

12

27

That Neal Heaton got 99 starts with the Indians is beyond belief.

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