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Baseball fans, explain this to me (pitching rotation)

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Jim Nazium, Oct 1, 2017.


  1. You have five good starting pitchers. Standard practice is, each one of them throws 100 pitches on one day, then rests for four days. Why not have each of them throw 20 pitches every day?

    I know it's not quite the same thing, but compare it to running: if you ran three miles every day, instead of fifteen miles every five days, wouldn't you be able to run a lot faster for those three miles?
     
  2. BigDanT

    BigDanT Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2011
    Indianapolis
    A couple of things to point out.

    1) a starting pitcher might throw 100 pitches in an outing but there is also the entire prep period, warm up, etc. which also eats up a pitchers arm.

    2) one benefit a Starting pitcher has is that the same batters won’t see all his (stuff) on a regular basis, making it harder to read pitches. So if a starting pitcher pitches every day batters would be able to familiarize themselves with his pitching repertoire much more easily.
     
    slobake and blastoff99 like this.
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Part of it is psychological. When you are the starting pitcher, it is "your" game to win.
     
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Having 5 pitchers is not like having 5 E strings. The E strings are essentially the same. Each pitcher is different. Only a few are great.
     
  5. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA

    This, as well as post #2.

    Starting and relief are totally different roles and mindsets. Middle relievers or situational relievers generally don't have a win-loss record they can brag about - they often arrive on the scene when most of the possible outcomes are bad, and it is hard for them to get a mark in the Win column - so they are intent on stopping the bleeding. Starters have the opportunity to not let things get out of hand in the first place, or so they hope. And they have a lot more to think about in terms of 'what should I show this hitter the second time through that I didn't show him the first time,' etc.

    That said, it does bring a smile to my face when a manager has no choice but to use multiple pitchers because he knows the starter can only go three innings. This sort of thing usually happens toward the end of the season, when someone is on the DL, someone else can come up from AAA but won't get to the park in time, and the bullpen is depleted. So it's an intentional committee. Occasionally that committee will throw a no-hitter. It's happened at least 11 times:

    The Phillies no-hitter by committee - GammonsDaily.com
     
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Several reasons:

    1. Even throwing a few pitches (including warmups) takes its toll. That's why relief pitchers generally do not pitch more than two games in a row, and those who do both tend to do poorly the third day, but are the ones who end up requiring arm surgery (I miss my rotator cuff). Throwing a baseball is not a motion our arm was designed to do. This is the main reason.

    2. If you have a good starter, you want the win. A truly great starting pitcher means more to a team than any other player.

    3.Teams want to build stars so they can sell tickets.

    4. Players want to build stars (such as wins) so they can make more money.
     
    MJ5150 likes this.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I can't imagine how long a baseball game would be if we swapped out pitchers ever 20-30 pitches.
    Throwing a baseball the way major league pitchers do also manipulates the arm, elbow, and shoulder in ways it should not be. Doing so once a week is about all the body can take typically if you want the player to last long term.

    -Mike
     
  8. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Is there empirical proof the pitch count works? Seems pitching was far better in Nolan Ryans day - understanding, of course, that Ryan was a once in a life time freak who was throwing 97 mph into his late 40s.. actually I think he threw that fast the day his elbow went out causing him to retire.
     
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    . Depends on who you speak with. IMO it's more an issue with kids, who can be abused by coaches.

    Overuse is a prime cause of injury, but it's not as simply as the count.

    1. Pitchers used to Pace themselves, and not throw every pitch at 100%. Nowadays, especially since they are throwing fewer innings, they are throwing every pitch at Max. That's why Bartolo Colon is still pitching at 43- he doesn't.
    2. Newer pitches (slider, sinker) are tougher on the arm.
    3. Again, going back to kids. They used to play in the summer, and then different sports. Today they are doing the same thing year round. It is not unusual for teen pitchers to have Tommy John surgery. :rollno:
     
    MJ5150 likes this.
  10. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Makes sense, and that reinforced my thought that now the propensity to throw with max effort is actually higher because of the imposed pitch counts. It's expected because you wont have to throw an entire game. As you mention pitchers used differing pitches and speeds to keep their arm live through a game. Now they have no time off, so to speak.

    What you mentioned about kids makes perfect sense. A young arm needs time to grow and develop with undue stress that throwing MLB style pitches can put on an arm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
    buldog5151bass likes this.
  11. JohnMCA72

    JohnMCA72

    Feb 4, 2009
    They don't rest for 4 days. There's a whole cycle of pitch, rest, light workout, weight training, & bullpen. Starters are on a longer cycle so that they can pitch longer but less often. Short relievers are on short cycles so that they can come in for shorter periods, but more often. Long relievers have in intermediate cycle.
     
  12. OK, thanks, I didn't know that. So, are some pitchers more physically suited to the different roles / schedules, the same way a runner might naturally be a better sprinter than marathoner?
     
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Some is how they are suited (for instance, if someone is coming back from an injury, you don't want them pitching back to back days. Some of it is training - for example, if someone is a reliever, and they want to turn them into a starter, they take time to work up their stamina. It also depends upon the style of pitcher. A reliever can get by on one or two pitches, since they generally will not face the same hitter more than once in a game. Since a starter might face the same batter three or four times, they need generally need more variety.
     
    Stewie26 likes this.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Also, human beings aren't made of math. Just because one person can throw 100 pitches doesn't mean that you can effectively divide that up.

    Once robots play the game, maybe we can do that.
     
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Part of this is how they are suited physically - not every pitcher is cut out to be a starter. Also how they are suited mentally - being a closer requires a very tough mindset coupled with the ability to forget a bad outing quickly.
     
  16. Can you imagine the forces in play? You accelerate your arm to 90mph+ and then come to an abrupt stop. No wonder those guys get surgery so often. I've even heard of top talent highschool pitchers getting elective Tommy John surgery so they don't have to get it done later in their career.
     

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