When you have the second-worst record in the majors you are bound to have more than a few times when your team or your players’ names will appear in a negative stats column. Case in point: The Brewers have two pitchers who are among the six tied for the most pitching losses this season with nine. Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse each have lost nine games (through games of Sunday, June 21); Garza is 4-9, while Lohse has a 3-9 record. That means that Garza and Lohse (and the other four hurlers with nine defeats) are on a pace to lose 20 for the season.
Twenty-game losers, however, are pretty rare. In fact, the last 20-game loser was Detroit’s Mike Maroth who lost 21 in 2003. Prior to that, Brian Kingman lost 20 games for the Oakland A’s in 1980. That’s right, only two pitchers have lost 20 games in a season since 1980. From 1901-1979, there were 199 20-game losers in the majors.
There are a lot of reasons for the decline in 20-game losers in baseball: The increased dependence on bullpens, fewer starts by pitchers, and starting pitchers who are taken out of games when they can’t lose the game (they are replaced when the tying run is at the plate and the relief pitcher takes the loss if more runs score).