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Better than his record

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every year there are pitchers who benefit from great run support and there are "hard-luck" pitchers who pitch very well, just for the wrong side of the ledger.

If you "own" a hard-luck pitcher, he's likely giving you reasonable ERA, competitive WHIP and acceptable strikeout totals, he just isn't getting the wins.

This year's example of that unlucky guy is Mariners' righthander Doug Fister.

Fister has a solid ERA of 3.18, an equally good WHIP of 1.165, but a look at his resume shows he's just 3-11 this year.

And it's easy to understand why he owns this bad record - poor run support. Fister's Mariners have scored two runs-or-less in 15 of his 19 starts. In actual numbers, Fister has received 2.91 runs-per-game, by far the lowest in the majors for any qualified pitcher. He's pitched 10 games yielding two runs- or-less, yet is just 1-3 with six no-decisions in those outings.

Since Seattle is the lowest scoring team in the league (3.24 runs-per-game) and has no apparent plans to trade Fister, it's likely that this situation will continue. You will have to decide for yourself whether you get enough benefit from his ERA and WHIP to continue to use him in your starting lineup.

By comparison, the four qualified pitchers listed just ahead of Fister are Dustin Moseley (3.70), Dan Haren (3.72), James Shields (4.04) and Jered Weaver (4.10). Almost a full run more in support.

It's a tribute to how good Haren, Shields and Weaver have pitched in 2011, that they have winning records despite being able to "sue" for lack of support.

At the other end of the spectrum would be "Mr. Lucky" - Baltimore hurler Jake Arrieta with an average run support of 9.23 followed by Ivan Nova (9.03) and Jake Westbrook (8.94). These three starters are a combined 24-14 despite having the following pitching statistics; Arrieta (5.10 ERA, 1.436 WHIP), Nova (4.12, 1.473), Westbrook (5.26, 1.578).

For these three guys, you are earning wins at the expense of your ERA and WHIP categories. Again, you have to decide whether the damage in two categories is worth it, just to get wins. If we look at their fantasy ownership levels, the apparently answer from most owners is no. None is owned in more than 25- percent of all leagues.

Bottom-10 in Run Support (qualified pitchers)
Player Team RS W L % Owned
Doug Fister SEA 2.91 3 11 14
Dustin Moseley SD 3.79 2 9 4
Dan Harren LAA 3.90 10 6 98
James Shields TB 4.04 8 7 98
Jered Weaver LAA 4.10 11 4 98
Hiroki Kuroda LAD 4.16 6 10 77
John Danks CHW 4.21 3 8 46
Paul Maholm PIT 4.22 6 9 23
Jason Vargas SEA 4.45 6 7 27
Cliff Lee PHI 4.46 6 6 99


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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