Originally Posted by asindc
Scherzer has not been a better pitcher than Sale this year anymore than Sabathia was a better pitcher than Felix the year he won. Frankly, looking at wins as a primary consideration is a lazy approach to evaluating a pitcher's performance. As others have noted, a pitcher has less control over his won/loss record than virtually any other stat associated with pitching.
The premise that a pitcher has less control over wins than any other stat has led people to ignore the fact that a starting pitcher has more to do with winning a game than any other player on his team. Pitching is about putting your team in a position to win games. The White Sox had the lead at one point in five of Sale's losses. There were games where he gave up runs early and ended up not getting any run support.
Of course the pitcher who leads the league in wins is going to lead the league in "cheap" wins, but if you want to talk run support, in three Scherzer losses, the Tigers have only scored a total of three runs. That isn't to say he didn't deserve to lose those games. He gave up a two-out two-run single in his 2-1 loss to the Red Sox when he was protecting a 1-0 lead. And the White Sox would have beaten him in a game where he only gave up two earned runs in six innings, but the Tigers scored late and the De Aza game-ending hit came against the bullpen.
It is fashionable to look at a pitcher's stats and throw out the win-loss record. If your team can't score, you can't win. But that is at least as erroneous as looking only at a pitcher's win-loss record to judge his season. The pitcher who holds the record for 1-0 losses in a season (I think it's still Ferguson Jenkins) did it in a 20-win season. An elite season isn't just about having great stats, it's about applying those great stats to win the tames your team has an opportunity to win. I certainly wouldn't want a starting pitcher who is more concerned with his numbers than whether his team wins or loses.
Not that Sale doesn't care if he wins or loses, but I hope he is gaining the experience to win the games he has the opportunity to win and put up future Cy Young-worthy seasons.
When I see people ignoring occasions where a pitcher lost games that he had an opportunity to win while arguing that statistical analysis of the pitcher's performance, I see that applying critical thinking to following baseball is a lost art.