The job of a pitcher is to prevent runs from being scored by his opponent. Preventing baserunners is so closely tied to this job that they are often considered dual responsibilities. However, every once in awhile there is a pitcher who manages to do one of the two jobs well while doing the other poorly.
J.R. Richard pitched 10 seasons for the Houston Astros from 1971-1980. He was a fairly good pitcher, even considering the era of depressed offense and his park. The Astrodome was notoriously killer on hitters, being as pitcher-friendly as Petco Park in San Diego is now, per Baseball-Reference’s park factors. Still, he eclipsed 200 innings in 5 straight seasons, passed 300 strikeouts in 2 seasons (leading the league both times), and had a career ERA of 3.15 (8% better than league average over that time, adjusted for the park). He had 3 top ten Cy Young finishes, including a 3rd-place in 1979. Continue reading