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Maroth Handed His 20th Loss

Tigers' 8-6 loss to the Blue Jays moves the pitcher to a dubious mark that had not been reached since 1980.

September 06, 2003|From Associated Press

TORONTO — Mike Maroth is determined to not let the label "20-game loser" hurt his career.

Maroth became the first major league pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 games in a season when the Detroit Tigers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-6, on Friday night.

"I'm a strong person. I'm going to overcome this. I know that," he said. "Hopefully, next year and the rest of this year I'll be able to prove that."

Maroth (6-20) gave up eight runs and nine hits in three-plus innings, becoming the first 20-game loser since Oakland's Brian Kingman went 8-20 in 1980.

Before the game, Maroth learned that his grandmother had died.

"I have no regrets about the way I pitched tonight," he said. "I went out there with everything I had. I didn't pitch well, but at least I can sleep good knowing that I gave it everything I had. Mentally, I was fine."

Maroth said he appreciated the support of his family and teammates.

"It's a tough time for me," he said. "For them to be there and support me, that's what a true teammate is."

Teammate Dmitri Young felt he let Maroth down.

"I failed him," Young said. "He's dealing with a lot right now.... He's a better man than most of us. For him to come out here and forget about everything and pitch for the team, I felt I failed him."

Kingman, who wanted to remain baseball's last 20-game loser, attended the game and brought a voodoo doll with him. It's the same doll he took to four other starts in which a major league pitcher could have lost his 20th game but didn't.

"I just don't want Mike to lose," Kingman said before the game.

Maroth wasted 2-0 and 5-2 leads as Kingman kept his doll -- nicknamed "The King" -- by his feet. Asked if he would destroy the doll if Maroth lost, Kingman said: "He'll be 4-1. That's a whole lot better than I was, so I'm going to keep him."

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Losing 20

Mike Maroth of the Tigers made a significant bit of baseball history in Toronto on Friday, becoming the first pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 games since Oakland's Brian Kingman went 8-20 in 1980.

The number of 20-game-losing pitchers by decade:

*--* Decade 20s Decade 20s 2000s 1 1930s 17 1990s 0 1920s 16 1980s 1 1910s 31 1970s 13 1900s 45 1960s 13 1890s 50 1950s 10 1880s 68 1940s 9 1870s 23 Roy Jurgens

*--*

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