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Updated with two short quotes from MLB.com.
Armando Galarraga would like more run support. At least, that's what I take away from his comments to FS Detroit (and other media folk) after the game.
"Sometimes I don't get run support, but there isn't anything you can do about it.," Galarraga said. "I've had that feeling for the last four starts. You know when you've got like two or three runs, you say, 'I'll try to keep the game at that, because I don't have run support too much.'"
He went on to tell of his frustration with winning just four games this season, despite a more-than-adequate 3.89 ERA across 122 2/3 innings on the mound.
"Four wins the whole year? Sometimes you get frustrated, because you want to see more wins," he said.
In some ways, you can't blame Galarraga for being a bit frustrated with the entire thing. Again today, he pitched well only to have nothing to show for it. Seven innings, four hits allowed, three earned runs. He left with the game tied and a chance to win, but the Tigers went on to lose. You stick a microphone in front of his face moments after his pulls up his pants and ask him his opinion and he gives you an honest answer. He'd like a little more support behind him.
Wouldn't we all?
Yet it's always a bit unseemly to see a player in a team sport to mention failing to achieve individuals statistics. Especially a stat like wins. Wins are a team collective, but players, analysts and fans alike treat pitching wins like an individual accomplishment. When you do that, the perception of everything changes.
How does a starting pitcher get a win? For one, he has to pitch ... for five innings. For two ... his team has to take the lead when he is the pitcher of record and hold on to it for the rest of the game. For three ... well, that's really about it, isn't it? He could give up six runs and leave the mound after 5, but his teammates could pick him up with eight runs in the bottom half of the inning, the bullpen could do phenomenally, and the starting pitcher gets a "W" to his credit.. Unless he plans to strike out everyone, he's also going to rely on his defense to take care of the baseball after it's left the bat. So why do some continue to act like wins says something about the pitcher? It doesn't. It speaks about the team. It's easier to collect wins as a Yankee than a Royal or Mariner. That's just the way it is.
The pitcher can give his team a better or worse shot at it, but so can a position player who happens to be great at fielding or getting on base and hitting home runs. Let's be honest here, if we're handing out wins we really should be putting the stat next to Miguel Cabrera's name.
His line today:
Miguel Cabrera (67-69) -- 2-for-3, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 IBB
A shame Cabrera didn't do enough today to earn the win and bring his record to an even 68-68.
That's where Galarraga's misunderstanding of the "wins" stat can be frustrating, and confusing for a guy who showed so much class earlier in the season when his perfect game was taken away by the human element. Galarraga pitched well. He could be said to have done his job by earning a quality start. I understand the frustration, but wonder if it says something more about how Galarraga really feels than he intended. Complaining after your team loses about not earning a notch in a superfluous stat like pitcher wins? Even if he was just blaming himself or random luck not going his way, that just doesn't look good. It's not all about you.
It's a shame he didn't get a win tonight; we all would have enjoyed that quite a bit. I'm sure he got enough support, just not enough of the "run" variety.
Just remember this, Armando: The fans love you. You had that perfect game. You got a golden smile, a likable personality. But teams win or lose. Individuals do not.