Saturday, April 21, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 6

Orioles Victory Number 6: 3-1 over the Cleveland Indians

2001 Topps Opening Day Mike Mussina

Finally, the O's are back in the win column and, despite being one of the best pitchers in the AL, Dylan Bundy finally picks up his first win of the season. So far in 2018 Bundy has made 5 starts, thrown 31.2 innings, struck out 40 while only walking 9, WHIP of 1.105, ERA+ of 286 and a FIP of 1.98.  And his record: 1-2.

I'm not sure I'm ready to go full Brian Kelly yet and call for the abolishment of the win as a statistic, but it's obvious that it's value is quickly diminishing. Richard Bleier has two wins on the season and has thrown a total of 14.1 innings. He's been good, but he hasn't been as good as Bundy. Hopefully, baseball writers (especially those that vote on awards) are starting to come around to the fact that wins aren't the be all, end all stat for pitchers, especially starters.

Would I like to see Bundy or any other Orioles pitcher win 20 games in a season? Hell, at this point I'm hoping the Orioles get to 20 wins as a team.  Seeing how no Baltimore pitcher has done it since Mike Boddicker in 1984 it would be nice to celebrate that arbitrary stat. Mainly because it means the team is successful.

The last Oriole to come close was the man pictured above. Mike Mussina got to 19 wins in 1996. He also won 19 in 1995. Mussina also had three seasons with the Orioles that he won 18 games. He never got to the magic mark in black and orange, waiting until his final season in New York to hit the 20 win plateau. No one in their right mind would argue that the 2008 version of Mike Mussina was better than the 1996 version. He just happened to play for a better team that scored him more runs.

This was the last season Mussina was featured in an Orioles uniform on a Topps card. He didn't sign early enough in the off season for Topps to airbrush him into a Yankees uniform so Baltimore fans had to suffer seeing him in the home whites one more time when they were opening packs that year. His debut in Yankee threads would come in Series Two Topps.

Since then the O's have been looking for a dominant right-hander that can take the mound once a week and shut down their opponents. It wasn't Erik Bedard or Chris Tillman. Zach Britton looked like he may take the honor, but couldn't transition to starting in the majors. Now it's hopefully Bundy.. At some point the Orioles are going to start scoring runs for him. Hopefully at some point the Orioles are going to start scoring runs for anyone. Once that happens his wins will start piling up.

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