Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Age Pitching

I want to talk for a couple minutes about the way pitchers are used now as opposed to the '60s and before.

Today, it is not impossible to see four pitchers combine on a one-hit shutout. Did you read what I just wrote? Four men on a one-hitter.

With the exception of Roy Halladay, hardly anybody pitches complete games anymore, let alone a shutout. Pitchers are treated like God's gift to the baseball world.

There are some exceptions to New Age Pitching. A few horses still exist in the major leagues (e.g. Brandon Webb, Aaron Harang, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Zombrano and the aforementioned Halladay).

If the pitch count gets up to 100, everybody starts looking to the bullpen. I'm not even sure that in the '60s anybody but the pitching coach knew how many pitches had been thrown. It's borderline madness!

Tommy John threw 46 shutouts in his career. At the rate players are going now, if a pitcher gets two or three in his career it's news.

Relief pitching is the ruination of starting pitchers stats. I mean how can “Dice K” finish a game when John Papelbon is chomping at the bit in the bullpen?

Andy Pettitte can't get a complete game because if he is getting clobbered, he leaves early. If he is ahead in the ninth, they will just throw Rivera in to sew it up (hopefully).

Sandy Koufax pitched over 300 innings in a single season three times. CC Sabathia averaged 193 innings from 2003- 2006.

It is a reliever's world. In 1959 Roy Face was spectacular. I was just a child then but he was the only actual reliever I knew of. He won 18 games with his famous fork ball.

In 2006, in the National League there wasn't a 20-game winner. In fact several pitchers tied for the league lead with 16.

In 2007, Jake Peavy won the Cy Young award with only 19 wins. How pitiful is that? Why is that?

It could be because starters get pulled out with a two-run lead while still throwing good stuff, however they may have thrown 116 pitches. Heaven forbid! A reliever comes in, not only blows the save, but loses the game for him. That’s New Age Pitching for you.

© 2008. Clifton Eastham. All Rights Reserved.

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