STARTING PITCHERS GOING DEEP INTO GAMES ARE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

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.

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Comments

  1. Dead right.

    L. Ron LaRussa spread the word that if you don’t go to your 8th innning guy and then your 9th inning guy you’re not a manager.

    Kinda like whoever said if you’re not making some ridiculous faux gang hand signal when someone takes your picture, you don’t know how to pose.

    I don’t know how we enjoyed baseball before the 8th inning and 9th inning LaRussa formula and I don’t know how we enjoyed photography before people made ridiculous hand gestures and stuck their tongues out for pictures.

    I juxtapose these two observations for a reason: to show that whether it’s baseball, how you pose for a picture, or naming your child, people moronically and robotically follow some fashions without even thinking about it.

    That’s why there are some many Zacharies floating around in society now because right around the time LaRussa was ruining the 8th and 9th innings (mid 80s), thousands of parents across the US got the idea that it was a good idea to name a child Zachary.

    Two horrible fashions which persist to this day.

  2. @Met Fan

    And I got grief naming my sons Max and Lucas at the time.

    I do think we’ll be living with LaRussaism for quite a while for many reasons.

  3. Oh by the way, I love what Alex did yesterday. Wasn’t premeditated and it was a total and amateurish overreaction by that thug Braden.

  4. A few things. First of all, lots of people named their sons Zachary back then for a very good reason: we were all fans of Pat Zachary. I mean, who wasn’t, right? By the late 80s weren’t all Met fans a bit misty-eyed for Pat Zachary and the Mets of his era?

    Next, I’m pretty sure I asked these same questions about pitching on this site 3, 4, maybe 5 years ago. I was cut off from baseball and baseball conversation for more than 10 years. When I was able to reconnect to the game, the changes to the way pitching was handled were probably the least comprehensible to me.

    However, as I’ve watched more and more games I sort of understand some of the changes. First, there seem to be a lot more 3 ball counts and foul balls these days than in the past.

    Maybe I’m misremembering, but I’d love to know how many pitches Seaver threw when he threw 290 innings. I suspect that the huge juiced hitters made pitchers a lot more nibbly. Is it just my imagination or do pitchers rarely just throw it up there daring the hitters to hit it? How many 1-2-3 strikeouts do you see?

  5. Yankee Dude- for all the real class Jeter has, A-Fraud is a wise-ass weasel. You’re saying it’s ok that he’s a Thug since he’s your Thug.

  6. Does anybody realize that we have 6 players hitting under the Mendoza Line? Who put this team together? Oh, wait…

  7. The reason that LaRussa was copied is because the A’s made three straight World Series. It is also why we have to hope that Ryan is successful in Texas. The “invention” of the “quality start” stat…you know the one that says you have had a good game if you pitch to a 4.5 ERA is another joke. Not to mention the whole one inning by the closer garbage. You have the unofficial “agent” created stat of “holds” as a stat for middle relievers. Managers used to use their eyes to see if a starting pitcher was losing it. Now they hit 100 pitches, and they are done…unless they are throwing a no-hitter, that’s it, they are taken out. Forget the fact that the pitcher may not have had any trouble what so ever…You want to be protective a 20 year old pitcher, I get it, but by the time a guy is 26 years old, this whole “protection thing” is a joke. Theses guys, don’t throw too much, they do not throw enough.

    Finally, every team cries (including the team that has twice the payroll as anyone else) that there is not enough middle relief…so what do they do, decide to use more and more middle relievers. Instead of using the starter(usually one of the top six pitchers on the team) they constantly take those guys out to use pitchers 7-11. Makes absolutely no sense at all.

  8. One simple reason that managers take pitchers out early. THE MEDIA. Game announcers now think if they don’t ridicule everyone that they are not being real. Second a mgr will get ripped by talk radio for leaving a pitcher in too long but rarely ripped by the morons for taking him out. Hey I brought in my 8th inning guy what do you want me to do thats what he gets paid for.

  9. He looks like he is on his death bed……

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