After 52 seasons of Angels baseball, the current team record for losses in a season is 19, and that record is shared by four pitchers: George Brunet, Clyde Wright, Frank Tanana, and Kirk McCaskill.With his tenth loss of the season this past Sunday, Joe Blanton is on pace to lose 23 games this year. That would shatter the Angels’ single-season record for losses by a pitcher.
In 1967, Brunet was the first of the bunch to lose 19. The ’67 team finished a mediocre fifth place out of ten teams with an 84-77 record. Despite the 19 losses, Brunet had a good season. He posted a 3.31 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and had 165 strikeouts against 90 walks.
In 1973, Wright became the second Halos hurler to lose 19. The ’73 team finished fourth out of six teams with a 79-83 record. Wright was a good pitcher for the Angels, but 1973 was not one of his better seasons. He posted a 3.68 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP, and had an ugly 65 strikeouts against 76 walks.
The next year, the great Frank Tanana replicated Wright’s 19 losses. The ’74 team finished sixth out of six teams with a 68-94 record, but it was hardly Tanana’s fault. He posted a 3.12 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and had 180 strikeouts against 77 walks.
The last Angels pitcher to reach the ignominious milestone was Kirk McCaskill in 1991. The ’91 team finished seventh out of seven teams and had an 81-81 record. McCaskill posted a 4.25 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP, and had only 71 strikeouts against 66 walks.
At this point in the year, it being almost half-way through the season, Blanton has put up some uncomfortable comparables. He currently has a 5.87 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts against 14 walks. That last bit of information speaks to Blanton’s mastery at pounding the strike zone, except that in addition to controlling the walks, he is also giving batters a lot of good pitches to hit. In fact, Blanton currently leads the American League in hits allowed with 111. And, unfortunately, that coincides with him also leading the league in earned runs allowed, with 50.