Huston Street is an Angel. Chase Headley is a Yankee. Cameron Maybin picked a bad time to start using different amphetamines. It’s been a bad week for the Padres already. Might as well talk a little Eric Stults.
By any objective measure, Eric has been awful this season. He surrenders just under 2 HR a game. The league is hitting .305 against him. His xFIP is 4.34, and his -1.0 WAR is the worst among qualified starters in the Majors. He’s also tied with Kevin Correia (former Padre) for the major league lead in losses (12). It’s been a professional year to forget.
There might be a silver lining. You know what’s more rare than a 20-game winner? A 20-game loser. Mike Maroth is the last major league pitcher to lose 20 (2003). It hasn’t happened in the National League since Hall of Famer Phil Niekro lost 20 for the 1979 Atlanta Braves (he won 21 games that season. How about that?). A Padre hasn’t lost 20 since Randy Jones dropped 22 way back in 1974. Eric has made 20 starts so far in 2014. He has, probably, 13 left, unless he gets injured or Bud Black quits sending him out there.
Assuming he keeps the same ratio of starts to losses as he has to date, 13 more starts means he’ll lose 7.8 more games. Having a baseball card say 6.2 Wins and 19.8 Losses would be unique; unfortunately the Baseball Gods demand integers for wins and losses. So, using the rounding convention Sister Mary Elizabeth taught, Eric would finish 6-20 on the season.
The Padres have had three pitchers lose 20-games in a season: Jones, Steve Arlin (1972), and Clay Kirby (1969). There’s a decent chance Stults could become the fourth. I’m actually conflicted by this. On the one hand, I’m not going to actively root for Stults (or the Padres) to lose; on the other, much like seeing someone with awful fashion sense walk down the street, I would struggle to look away.
Is it something to keep an eye on for the rest of this season? Yes, in a morbid way. ‘Let’s see if someone can continue to fail 60% of the time.’ Like I said, it’s been a lousy week, and the silver lining always exists in a storm cloud.