The first of what could be several dubious achievements by the
2003 Tigers happened last Friday when lefthander Mike Maroth
became the first pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 games in a
season. By allowing eight earned runs in three innings of an 8-6
loss to the Blue Jays, the 26-year-old Maroth saw his record fall
to 6-20 and his ERA climb to 5.75 in 29 starts. "I'm going to
overcome this," Maroth said afterward.
It might help him to know that 19 Hall of Famers had 20-loss
seasons. Also, he hasn't had much luck: Eight times Maroth
pitched six or more innings and allowed three earned runs or
fewer, and was still tagged with a loss.
Last week manager Alan Trammell pulled 20-year-old righthander
Jeremy Bonderman (6-18, 5.71 ERA) from the rotation, which means
that Detroit is unlikely to become the first team since the 1973
White Sox to have two 20-game losers.
However, other unceremonious records remain within reach: With a
.297 on-base percentage the Tigers are on pace to be the first
American League team to finish with an OBP below .300 since the
Twins and the Blue Jays in 1981, and they are on track to be
outscored by 335 runs, which would be the most since the '32 Red
Sox had a differential of -349. Worst of all, Detroit has a shot
at the '62 Mets' single-season record of 120 losses. Through
Sunday the Tigers had 105 defeats, needing to win six of their
final 20 games to fall short of New York's mark for futility.
(All but three of those games are against winning teams.)
"It's going to be a tough month," Trammell says. "Will we weather
it? Absolutely. I don't care if we don't win another game, but we
can't quit. It's a job, and it's 162 games."