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Ranking the Most Excruciating Losses

What’s the most difficult way a pitcher can lose a game?

For a batter, the ultimate manner to clinch a victory is to hit a grand slam, down by three runs, in the bottom of the ninth inning or later.  However, it is more difficult to rank the degree of heartache resulting from a decisive play for a pitcher.


Brant Brown, dropping the Geoff Jenkins fly ball that nearly cost the Cubs the 1998 Wild Card

Errors:  This outcome depends on the severity of the blunder.  There are several excellent examples:Bill Buckner groundballBrant Brown dropped fly ballLuis Castillo dropped infield fly ball.

Steal of Home:  The pitcher would have to fall asleep to an extremely daring base runner. A walk-off straight steal of home actually has occurred.  The immortal backup catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Glenn Brummer, last accomplished the feat on August 22, 1982.

Home Run:  The ultimate manner to lose a game in which the pitcher has control of the outcome.  Joe Carter and Bill Mazeroski are familiar with this result in the World Series.

Missed Umpire Call:  The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a19-inning game on July 26, 2011 by a horrible blown call at home plate to end the game.

Interference/Obstruction: Catcher’s Interference could stir an argument or two. There has been only one game in MLB history that has ended on a catcher’s-interference.  The Los Angeles Dodgers Willie Crawford was awarded a CI after his teammate Manny Mota tried to steal home in the 11th inning of a 4-4 game.  Reds catcher Johnny Bench moved out from behind home plate and stood in the base path to tag Mota and was called for interference.

Balk:  Unless “Balking” Bob Davidson is umpiring, there is little chance a game will be decided by this infraction to the rules.  The infamous John Rocker lost on a game-ending balk on May 8, 2000.

Hit By Pitch:  A lack of control is often the result of this play.  However, only a few games end on this inopportune moment per season.  The Washington Nationals clinched a victory on August 21, 2011 thanks to this decisive misguided pitch.


George Foster scores the winning run on Bob Moose’s wild pitch in the 1972 NLCS

Wild Pitch:  An errant throw to home plate can be excruciating especially when the pennant is on the line.  The 1972 NLCS ended on a Bob Moose wild pitch.

Passed Ball (3rd Strike): A passed ball is an error by the catcher but could be indirectly the fault of a pitcher who crossed up his battery mate.  Mickey Owen’s dropped third strike in Game 4 of 1941 World Series extended the game.

Walk: Bases on Balls are a direct relation to a pitcher’s inability to throw strikes.  The most egregious bases loaded walk in MLB history belongs to Kenny Rogers.  The New York Mets nearly forced Game 7 after trailing in the series 3-0.  Thanks to “The Gambler”, the Mets hopes were dashed.  To this day, Octavio Dotel should have pitched the 11th inning.

Base Hit:  Stat heads will often point to BABIP and suggest there is a certain amount of luck involved in allowing such an event to occur.  This is almost a daily occurrence at the big league level.  Arguably, Bill Bevens loss in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series might be the hardest to digest in World Series history.

Sacrifice Fly/Bunt:  Not the most dramatic way to end a game.

Fielder’s Choice: A force out is not going to make any highlight reels unless a team in unable to compete a game-ending double play.

There are many players and managers that would argue, “A loss is a loss”.  However, in some extreme circumstances some loses are actually more excruciating than others.

By qualcomm98
Tuesday, 7 Aug 2012

 

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