The World According to Keitho

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The art of the 100 pitch start

Posted by keithosaunders on June 3, 2010

At some point in baseball  — maybe it was Tony LaRussa – somebody decreed that 100 pitches was the magic number for EVERY single pitcher.  I don’t buy it. They didn’t take Gibson or Carlton out automatically.  The last time I looked they had long, successful careers.  Not all arms are created equal.  Some tire after 90 pitches and some can go well over 120.

There’ are few closers that have a shelf life as long as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.  Most of them are average at best.

Here’s an idea. It’s pretty radical, but humor me. Suppose your ace pitcher, who is arguably one of the two or three best pitchers in the game pitches eight innings of shutout ball. Let’s say the pitch count is 105 pitches.  Now please don’t laugh because what I’m about to say is going to sound radical.  OK, here comes the funny part. Are you ready?

You leave him in for the 9th.

Sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I have to stop drinking this early in the day.

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3 Responses to “The art of the 100 pitch start”

  1. Generally, I agree with you. A starting pitcher who is at just about a hundred pitches, who has an excellent track record as a staff ace, should be allowed to start the ninth inning. Unfortunately, Manuel is also aware of two things: 1) If he left Santana in, and he gave up a lead-off single and a walk, someone would inevitably second-guess him for not immediately going to K-Rod to start the ninth, and 2) K-Rod himself would be pissed off about having to come into the game with runners on base. Most of today’s closers believe they have a Constitutional right to begin an inning without runners on base.
    So yes, the modern game has become too much about pitch counts and egos, at the expense of just trying to win the damn game.
    Nice post, Bill

    • Hi Bill,

      My objection to the modern day use of pitching staffs is the cookie cutter nature of it. As if one automatically has to go to the closer in the 9th inning every time — that all arms have exactly 100 pitches in them.

      That being said I realized after I posted yesterday that I had confused Santan’s outing with that of Pelfry’s the previous night. It was Pelfry who was removed after throwing 105 pitches in 8 innings. If Manuel had allowed Pelfry to finish that game perhaps K-rod would have had more in the tank for Wednesday’s game when they really needed him. (Santana threw 123 pitches in 7 innings)

      Krod is obviously a cut below — he’s among the better of the second tier closers, but that’s not saying much. After Mariano and a few others (Nathan & Papelbon) the talent pool becomes thin. Just because somebody is a closer does not mean he is ‘lights out.’ I’m for letting these delicate-genius Primma Donnas sample some humble pie. After his two previous outings K-rod should point to the sky when Manuel calls on him, thinking God for the chance to be in the game after throwing middle of the plate change ups.

  2. Completely agree. Closers are a dime a dozen and are a very replaceable commodity. In my opinion, there was Mariano and Nathan (who is now hurt), and then everyone else. Even Papelbon could be replaced by Bard. Remember the days when closers were regularly winning Cy Young, and even MVP awards? Glad those days are apparently behind us. Bill

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