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Vidal Nuno's ongoing quest for a win

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Nuno hasn't recorded a pitcher win for awhile. A very long while.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Baseball is full of ups and downs. The Mariners have had waaaaaaaay too many downs this season. But there have also been some ups. Nelson Cruz and his batting average/dingers have certainly been an up. As has Guti's ability to knock the crap out of baseballs. Unfortunately, a very "down" thing is currently ongoing for one of the Mariners very own. Below is chart showing the longest winless droughts for pitchers (in innings pitched) over the last 10 seasons.

Rank Player Streak Start Streak End Games W L GS GF SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP
1 Bruce Chen 2006-04-08 2009-08-01 53 0 13 19 20 0 146.1 6.46 3.38 2.34 6.64 6.27 5.16
2 Hector Noesi 2012-05-12 2014-05-28 40 0 14 19 11 0 145.2 6.43 3.27 1.48 5.87 4.96 4.70
3 Vidal Nuno 2014-07-02 Ongoing 41 0 10 19 8 0 145.0 7.88 2.17 1.18 3.48 3.93 3.87
4 Jo-Jo Reyes 2008-06-18 2011-05-25 31 0 13 28 0 0 142.0 5.77 4.12 1.39 6.59 5.38 5.07
5 Wil Ledezma 2007-04-22 2011-08-28 104 0 8 7 28 0 139.2 8.38 5.93 0.90 5.93 4.66 4.99
6 J.C. Gutierrez 2009-09-13 2013-09-17 133 0 10 0 63 21 135.0 7.87 3.47 1.40 4.67 4.67 4.27
7 Chris Volstad 2011-07-17 2012-08-19 24 0 14 24 0 0 131.2 6.15 2.67 1.03 5.54 4.09 3.88
8 James Russell 2013-05-15 Ongoing 167 0 10 1 25 2 128.1 5.82 2.95 0.84 3.86 4.03 4.45
9 Jason Grilli 2012-04-21 2014-07-07 140 0 10 0 68 46 128.0 12.73 3.23 0.91 3.02 2.77 2.86
10 Jeremy Affeldt 2008-04-04 2009-08-24 130 0 2 0 25 0 125.0 8.57 3.53 0.79 2.81 3.63 3.31

Nuno has made 41 appearances and pitched 145 innings (!) since he last had the satisfaction of opening up a newspaper, looking at a baseball boxscore, and seeing a little "W" next to his name. Most of us believe that pitcher wins are far from meaningful as a statistic, but we should also recognize that they probably mean a lot to the gentleman who fling and snap baseballs for a living. I don't imagine that going so long without a win has been particularly easy for Nuno. And he hasn't even been particularly bad at pitching during this streak! In his last 19 starts and 22 relief appearances, his xFIP has been essentially league-average. His strike out rate is a tick better than average and his walk rate is 25% lower than the typical MLB pitcher. Most teams would probably be very satisfied with this type of production out of the third/fourth starter in their rotation. And yet, Nuno is 0-10 during this period. Sad.

This, of course, serves to highlight the fickle nature of pitcher wins. Wins probably aren't the worst stat for measuring a pitcher's success, but they rely so heavily on run support and luck and happenstance. For example, since Nuno's last victory, the much-maligned Kyle Kendrick (sporting a sky-high xFIP of 4.81) has 11 wins. Additionally, a host of relievers have many more wins than Nuno does since 7/2/2014. The reliever version of Brandon Maurer has picked up seven wins. Even Dominic Leone has six. It's ridiculous!

Nuno did come tantalizingly close to victory during his last start with the M's back on August 22nd. He pitched 6.2 wonderful innings against the White Sox, surrendering just five hits and a single earned run, and left the game with a 3-1 lead. The Bartender came in and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, sending the Mariners into the 9th with a two run lead. Their win expectancy sat at 94.6%. But then Carson Smith pitched like a chump (stop issuing lead-off walks!), allowing Chicago to tie the game, viciously dashing Nuno's hopes of a win. The Mariners would eventually lose 6-3.

It should be noted that only 42 of the innings in Nuno's current streak have come as a member of the Mariners. He still has a ways to go if he wants to break into Seattle's top-five longest winless streaks. (Don't do it, Nuno. Get that win!)

Rank Player Streak Start Streak End Games W L GS GF SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP
1 Tom Wilhelmsen 2012-08-20 2014-06-30 110 0 5 0 72 37 124.2 7.36 4.84 0.43 3.32 3.76 4.23
2 Diego Segui 1977-04-06 1977-09-24 40 0 7 7 18 2 110.2 7.40 3.50 1.63 5.69 4.64 -
3 Mike Parrott 1980-04-15 1981-05-01 32 0 18 18 10 3 110.0 5.15 4.01 1.39 7.28 - -
4 Ryan Franklin 2004-06-11 2004-09-10 17 0 11 17 0 0 105.0 4.46 3.00 2.06 5.74 6.23 5.49
5 Hector Noesi 2012-05-12 2014-04-03 30 0 11 13 10 0 105.0 6.26 3.26 1.63 6.09 5.22 4.82

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In a season that has given us increasingly less to root for, pulling for Nuno to get a win and end this streak seems like a small (but fun) thing that can add a bit more excitement/enjoyment when he's on the mound. At this point in the season, I think that little things like this can become a lot more important. Or I guess if you're a completely bitter human being who enjoys the failures of others you could always root for his streak to continue. (FYI you're a monster.) Whatever floats your boat.

To make matters worse, it was announced that Nuno would be removed from the rotation and moved back into the bullpen (to make room for Roenis Elias). This likely decreases his chances of picking up a win in the near future. However, with Montgomery being terrible and Walker nearing his innings limit, I imagine that the rotation will be in a bit of flux as the season comes to a close. Nuno will likely get a few more chances to start. Here's hoping he picks up that elusive W before the end of the season.

Go M's.