It took Spencer Turnbull 427 days to get a win. Is he happy? 'I don't really care'

Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press

Four hundred and twenty-seven days.

That’s how long Detroit Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull went between getting the win in the Tigers' 8-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on May 31, 2019 and  getting the win in Friday’s 7-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Exactly 14 months.

Not that Turnbull cares. In fact, he kind of hates the pitcher win stat.

Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull walks off the field after pitching against the Reds during the third inning at Comerica Park on Friday, July 31, 2020.

[ Making sense of Turnbull's 'filthy' intrasquad outing ]

“I really don’t care for that stat at all,” he said after he gave up two earned runs on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts over six innings. “Very skewed stat in my opinion. The least important stat for me as a pitcher.

“There are many other stats I value a lot more. I don’t think it’s worthless, but it’s definitely not high up on the totem pole for me. Now, team wins are a totally different situation.”

Turnbull said the most important stat for him was ERA, and he mentioned strikeout to-walk ratio and WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched).

Turnbull had pitched alright since his last win, though a sub-par September left him with a 5.82 ERA and 1.569 WHIP in the 19 starts between wins. That includes his first start of this season, when he allowed just one run in five innings last week but got a no-decision against the Reds.

Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull pitches against the Reds during the first inning at Comerica Park on Friday, July 31, 2020.

“Very rarely does it mean all that much to me,” he said of earning a win. “As long as the team wins, I don’t really care.”

The Tigers went 2-17 in Turnbull starts during his drought, with wins coming only against the Athletics on Sept. 6, 2019, (when Turnbull lasted just 1⅔ innings) and against the Reds on Sunday.

Manager Ron Gardenhire had a different view of Turnbull’s reaction. 

[ Why Tigers' Turnbull looks ready for a breakout 2020 season ]

“Well, he was excited,” he said. “He made the elbow-shaking-hands at the top of the stairs when we got off the field. He was trying to be Hercules. He had no shirt on. We’re like going, ‘Ooh-kay, you got a win. OK, big guy.’

“But you know what? He was filthy. He’s got great stuff and he’s coming into his own. These two starts have been fantastic. The ball’s really coming out of his hand. He’s in control out there and hopefully he continues that. He’s moving the right way.”

Friday's outing gave Turnbull a 2.45 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP this season, and of course, that streak-breaking win, the Tigers' fifth in eight games to open the 60-game season.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.