I hope Frankie Rodriguez can pick up a fork and knife this morning to eat his breakfast, I mean the guy had to come in to pitch in the 8th inning last night instead of his customary 9th inning to get a (GASP!!!!) 5 out save!!!!!! Rodriguez had to throw 25 pitches to complete this unbelievable test of endurance and I’m hopping the 6ft 200lbd K-Rod is not just totally exhausted from that heavy duty work load.
All sarcasm aside here, when did baseball lose its way when it comes to pitching? Sure we could throw this all on The Genius as he reinvented bullpen use with the A’s and Denis Eckersley in the late 80’s but why did the rest of the sport follow suit and turn TLR into the baseball version of L. Ron Hubbard? Why hasn’t any organization stepped up and denounced LaRussa-ology ? I know Nolan Ryan has as he is going about changing the mind set of the Texas Rangers organization into developing starting pitchers to go deep into there starts, but why are other organization so scared to follow The Express’ as an example?
As far as I know, TLR was a marginal journeyman player and as much as I can’t stand his hide behind his Foster Grants ass, he knows baseball. Just ask him he’ll tell you but when it comes to pitching if it comes down to TLR or even his top disciple Dave Duncan, or Nolan Ryan, I’m going with the Hall of Famer fireballer.
Watching Jerry Manuel work this bullpen drives me up a fucking wall. Fernando Nieve pitches in every game, as does Vitamin Pedro. Jenry Mejia, the kid who Manuel told management he needed desperately is being totally misused. Now that Ryota Igarhasi is on the DL look for Ruben Valdes to become an everyday pitcher.
Manuel manages his pen like he still in the American League, it’s excruciating to watch. But back to my original question, why does it have to be this way?
Yesterday I wrote about the 40th anniversary of Tom Seaver’ 19 K game against the SD Padres. That year the 25 year old Seaver threw a baseball in 290 innings. That’s almost two seasons worth of innings in today’s game. Seaver threw for the fourth most innings that season in the NL as Bob Gibson was third with 294 IP, Fergie Jenkins was second with 313 and Gaylord Perry led the league with 328.2 IP.
In 2009 Justin Verlander led MLB pitchers in innings pitched with 240. In 1970 that would have ranked him 29th overall (Dick Drago of the Royals threw 240 IP in 1970) Bronson Arroyo was10th overall in IP last year with 220.1 IP. In 1970 Rick Wise of the Phillies threw for 220.1 IP good for 40th overall.
One would think with the advancements today in the physical training and with all the computer and video that teams have they could come up with some kind of pitching program that would get more length and production out of starting pitchers. Instead of paying tens of millions of dollars to a guy to come in and work one inning and throw 15-20 pitches wouldn’t it make sense to spend those millions on cultivating an organizational pitching program to train pitchers go deeper into games they’ve started ? Call it Reverse-LaRussa-ology.