Dusting off the pitch counts. 134 comments


Dusty Baker is getting crucified in the media for taking out Max Scherzer after 98 pitches on Monday. He had just given up his first hit, after six and a third innings of no-hit baseball. Scherzer committed the unpardonable sin of giving up a base runner after the sixth inning. He committed the unpardonable sin of getting near 100 pitches.

While Dusty Baker deserves all the blame for pulling his starter that was totally dominating, you can’t blame Dusty for pulling his starter that was totally dominating. That’s the way baseball works.

It’s all about pitch counts. And during the playoffs, even more so.

In the corner of every screen of every game on every TV is the pitch count. Coming out of the mouth of every announcer after every pitch from every pitcher is his pitch count. Pitch count dictates all decision-making in baseball.

If a pitcher throws one single pitch over the 100 count, his agent files a grievance with the union. Even worse, if it happens on the Washington Nationals, agent Scott Boras files a criminal negligence suit against the team. You think I am joking, but that is not far from the truth.

Back when they shut Stephan Strasburg down in 2012 at the insistence on Scott Boras, contributing to the Nationals losing the first round of the playoff, Boras threatened just that: that pitching Strasburg would be ruinous to his career. “Certainly, when you run afoul to medical recommendations with any player, there most likely are ethical and legal considerations.” He later hinted that those legal considerations would be in the $300 million range because Strasburg was a $30 million a year pitcher and had at least ten years of earning power in him.

The Nationals bought it. And, ever since, losing in the first round is in the team’s DNA. But at least their pitchers are fresh for the next season.

Dusty did what managers do in the playoffs. They panic. They over-manage. They lose because they mishandle their pitching. Never mind he compounded the problem by bringing in his seventh inning guy, rather than bringing in one of his dominating relievers.

The Rangers see that every day with Jeff Banister, and fans are incensed. But the reality is, he’s no different than most managers. We just happen to see him being a lemming day in and day out. He follows convention as good as anyone else.

And should the Rangers make the playoffs again in the Jeff Banister era, we will see that again. Starter Matt Bush is perfect through seven innings of Game 7 in the World Series with the Rangers up 10-0. He hits pitch number 99. Banister trembles. He calls Tanner Scheppers in to relieve. The Rangers lose 11-10. All because of pitch counts.

The sad truth is, if a starter goes past four innings in a post-season game, he has really accomplished something.

98 pitches? What, is he Superman?

*****
TODAY’S GAMES:

Tanner Roarke (13-11, 4.67) vs Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.535)
Game time: 3:08 on TBS

How the Nationals hit against Arrieta.
How the Cubs hit against Roarke.

_____

CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69) vs Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25)
Game time: 7:08 on FS1

How the Yankees hit against Kluber.
How the Indians hit against Sabathia.

 

  • FlappingGums

    John Ferrell will not be with the Red Sox next year. It’s now official.

    • TD30

      I just saw that. Poor guy. You’re out of the playoffs…..and out of a job.

      • dearmidol

        It might happen to Joe Girardi if the Yankees lose today. And to Dusty Baker if the Nationals lose. Both are in the last years of their contracts, and both have been heavily criticized for decisions in loses in the playoffs.

        It would be great if Girardi ended up the Red Sox manager.

        • elkaba

          Then the Yankees could hire Banister away from Texas… Yipeee!

          • GoRangers23

            I’m ALL FOR IT!

        • JacobMcCandles

          Has been rumblings of that…..Girardi IMO is a whole different dynamic, I thought he should’ve never got that job and was bad at first but has used his time there wisely and is better now

      • FlappingGums

        I agree. That’s a rough one.

    • WhoKnowscs

      They can have Banny now! Who wouldn’t want a manager that oversaw a team than went from last to first in just his first year of managing?

  • GoRangers23

    My son called me to the window yesterday morning because there was a huge hawk in our tree, which is right outside the dining room window. We have had a rodent problem as of late, (In our backyard, not in our house) so Mr Go has searched the Interweb for ideas on how to catch them. He has made countless trips to Home Depot for supplies for these crazy contraptions. He also has several traps tied into the tree. Apparently a “rodent of unusual size” had been caught by one of the traps, and the hawk was trying to fly away with it. It finally got it out of there, but it was just not something I was expecting to see out the window. 😳😬

    • FlappingGums

      Go – That’s bizarre! What an interesting sight to see the hawk get the rodent out of the trap! One less rodent to deal with! 😀

      • GoRangers23

        The hawk was huge, so it was kinda cool, yet kinda gross at the same time. I was fascinated. Lo

        • JacobMcCandles

          Have a huge owl at my house when it opens his wings…..huge span.

          • FlappingGums

            How beautiful! I recently heard that owls can be mean — don’t let him attack you!

          • GoRangers23

            Oh, an owl would be really cool! I haven’t seen any owls around here, but my neighborhood has a lot of wildlife. I wish we had some owls! I wonder what attracts them?….rodents of unusual size, perhaps? 😄

          • JacobMcCandles

            I have has two….a very small one…and this big boy. They are very observant….one movement in my chair to get a camera and he was gone.

  • GoRangers23

    I really hope that Banister is reading the media coverage about pitch counts! Maybe he will see how people really feel about it. I wonder if it would do any good?

    • FlappingGums

      I hope Banister has been reading here too! 😀

  • JacobMcCandles

    Wasn’t Baker the mgr of the Cubs when they pretty much destroyed Wood and Pryor? Maybe the pendulum has swung in his head too much. Its what hurt Darvish so much, being on a count and then feeling he had to SO everyone..he constantly did not get past the 6th…..and then going to an overexposed BP, where Banny would use multiple arms giving a propensity for a larger chance of mistakes. More pitching changes you make the more chance of finding a bad arm.

    • FlappingGums

      I think the pitch count situation lost quite a few games for us. Too much taking out starters when they were pitching good.

      Somewhere I read that Managers stick with the pitch count because so many in the medical community say that this is how to save arms.

      • JacobMcCandles

        Lot of things at play….no one wants to lose a high dollar player, younger players not being pushed early so they are not ready at the major lge level BP specialization….Powerful union, agents…not a easy one thats for sure.

        • dearmidol

          From Mark Prior, in an SI article from August 2016:

          Others — mostly Cubs fans — still blame my manager, Dusty Baker, for the series of injuries that derailed my career. They believe that he overused me in 2003 and blah, blah, blah. Only, here’s the thing: I don’t blame Dusty for what happened to me. I wouldn’t change a single thing that happened during that season — beyond us failing to bring a World Series Championship to Chicago, of course. No matter how many pitches I threw, I never asked to come out of a game — doing so would have been unthinkable.

          I believe Dusty did the best he could, and anyone who thinks he is responsible for what happened to me or Kerry Wood, I would strongly disagree.

          Also, people seem to forget two major events that significantly influenced my injury history: 1) the collision I sustained with Marcus Giles in 2003; and 2) the Brad Hawpe line drive that broke my elbow two years later.

          • JacobMcCandles

            Good stuff…especially never would ask out of the game….Unthinkabe! And that was just 14 yrs ago.

    • dearmidol

      Yes, he did get blamed for that, and it’s unfortunate. I am not sure how accurate that is. I’ll have to look into it.

  • dearmidol

    To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Strasburg is starting today against the Cubs, not Roarke.

  • WhoKnowscs

    I wonder if the BoSox make a play for Ausmus since they hired Dumbrowski from the Tigers to GM.

    • dearmidol

      He’s a New Englander. From Connecticut, went to Dartmouth.

      • WhoKnowscs

        Then he’ll fit in.

  • WhoKnowscs

    How important is pitching to getting in the postseason?

    The playoff contenders finish rank in team ERA, for the season of all major league teams. Rank 1 is lowest team ERA.

    1. Indians, 2. Dodgers, 3, D-Backs, 4. Red Sox, 5. Yankees, 6. Nationals 7. Cubs

    11. Astros
    17. Rockies
    19, Twins

    30. Tigers – Tied for Worst record with Giants(Ranked 16)

    • dearmidol

      Great stats.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Been about a month since I had looked at that 1-3 no surprises, Kind of surprised at Bosox although it helps to have Sale and his 200 IPs…..will have to go ck that as I am sure the #s get pretty tight 6-11.

  • GoRangers23
    • FlappingGums

      Excellent! These are great, Go! 😂

      • GoRangers23

        Thanks Flap. 😄

  • FlappingGums

    Does anyone know if the ALCS will also be covered on FS1?

  • JacobMcCandles

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20982423/why-pitch-counts-matter-again

    Here is more concerning our kind of topic today….

  • dearmidol

    The Cubs really miss Dexter Fowler. Now they are trying to plug center with Jon Jay, Justin Hayward and Leonys Martin.

    • GoRangers23

      Bless their hearts.

  • dearmidol

    Stephen Strasburg will be the first $40 million a year pitcher.

    • WhoKnowscs

      And then he’ll get injured.

      Personally I think clubs should start telling Boras’ clients to (fill in the blank) rather than deal with Boras.

  • starrangers

    “Starter Matt Bush is perfect through seven innings of Game 7 in the World Series with the Rangers up 10-0. He hits pitch number 99. Banister trembles. He calls Tanner Scheppers in to relieve. The Rangers lose 11-10.”

    This made me actually laugh out loud.

    • dearmidol

      Glad I could help.

  • dearmidol

    Looks like there will be a Game 5.

  • dearmidol

    My awful prediction of Yankees-Nationals is still, unfortunately, alive.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Before season or updated before playoffs?

      • dearmidol

        Before the playoffs.

  • JacobMcCandles

    Don’t you know Houston is rooting for the pinstripes….Judge and Sanchez SO while Gregorius gets the big HR

    • dearmidol

      I was worried about the Astros for a while. But getting Verlander changed everything for me.

  • dearmidol

    This is one of those games where the further the Indians go without scoring, the bigger the onus gets.

  • dearmidol

    Coffin, meet nail.

    • Gregor_S

      It wasn’t a good sign when they showed Sabathia yawning in the dugout in the first inning. Guy is totally relaxed.

      • dearmidol

        The Indians offense went cold at the wrong time. I wonder if they even score this game.

  • Gregor_S

    I feel like uttering some blasphemy.

    Didi Gregorius is better than Derek Jeter.

    There, I said it.

    He is just not as gregarious.

    • grumpyderfsmagic8ball

      It is. Wait 20 years.

    • dearmidol

      One thing I was shocked by was when I looked at the all-time hit leaders, Jeter is sixth.

      • Gregor_S

        Just looked up his stats. Didn’t realize he hit .310 with 260 HRs and 358 SB. So maybe Didi isn’t quite there. The blasphemy was fun though.

        I’ve been impressed by Gregorius ever since he hit 2 HRs off Darvish to beat him 2-1 in a game a few years ago when he was with Arizona.

        • JacobMcCandles

          I think Didi has a ton of talent…..did not really like Jeter too much but he played his best when the lights were brightest.

          • grumpyderfsmagic8ball

            So what was not to like?

          • Gregor_S

            He was a Yankee. And he had that swagger. And he was hyped to the moon.

            The fact that he may deserved the hype doesn’t make up for all that.

            But since he’s a Marlin now I forgive him.

          • grumpyderfsmagic8ball

            Bull. Had no swagger never tooted his own horn. Never any trouble on or off the field. A great team player. You just dont like Yanks.

          • Gregor_S

            You can have swagger and still do all those other things. And yes I’ve hated the Yankees for 61 years.

  • elkaba

    Can’t believe they just had the “what happens when the starter goes 6 or more innings” talk. Hope Banister was listening.

  • JacobMcCandles

    Vegas opens the Nats at home as a Underdog.

    • dearmidol

      For tomorrow night?

      • JacobMcCandles

        Yes

  • dearmidol

    The outs are disappearing for Cleveland.

    • von_todwin

      Helped by the 1-4 hitters giving David Robertson 5 outs in 9 pitches 🙁

      • dearmidol

        Six more outs.

  • dearmidol

    5.

  • elkaba

    Can’t believe the Yanks are about to win this. Would have bet a ton on Cleveland going all the way. Shocker.

    • dearmidol

      Their offense got cold. Ramirez didn’t show up.

      • elkaba

        Yeah. That’s another reason pitching counts more in the post season. It’s more reliable/predictable than hitting.

        • dearmidol

          And someone unlikely like Gregorius is the hero.

  • dearmidol

    4.

  • dearmidol

    3.

  • dearmidol

    I wish Brett Gardner was a Ranger.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Yep….he has always done well agst us too..especially a couple of yrs back

      • dearmidol

        He is a pure hitter. The opposite of what the Rangers have.

  • dearmidol

    That Lindor double play was the killer for the Indians. You have to come through when you have the chance, and he didn’t do it.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Happy for CC

      • dearmidol

        He pitched great.

  • JacobMcCandles

    Does Judge even want to bat??

    • dearmidol

      Nothing seems to rile him.

      • JacobMcCandles

        But 0-4 4 SOs….no pressure now

        • Gregor_S

          He already has the Golden Sombrero. Not sure what 0-5 with 5 Ks would be.

          • JacobMcCandles

            Don’t remember seeing one in post season

  • dearmidol

    Wow, what an at-bat.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Huge…..wow I can hear the cheering from Houston all the way up here

  • dearmidol

    Once again, I wish Gardner was a Ranger.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Wonder how many people thought Peyton was going to so great in commercials

      • dearmidol

        He does a great job.

  • WhoKnowscs

    There’s the nail.

    • dearmidol

      Yes it is.

  • dearmidol

    The two worst teams in the AL were in the Central. Cleveland was 26-12 against the Tigers and White Sox.

    • von_todwin

      Okay, but also 5-1 vs Houston, 5-2 vs NY.

      • dearmidol

        No, all I am saying is, the unbalanced schedule doesn’t mean the team with the best record is the best team.

        • von_todwin

          Yeah, for sure.

  • dearmidol

    Watch the Indians score a run off Chapman.

    • JacobMcCandles

      Never consider a playoff game over until its official

  • Gregor_S

    Too late now but I was going to say the Indians should immediately trade for Adrian Beltre. Chapman’s 104 mph wouldn’t bother him. He hasn’t played in a couple of weeks but he’s shown that wouldn’t bother him. He could have rallied them to a WS win, gotten that out of the way, and returned to the Rangers next season.

    But even AB probably couldn’t save Cleveland now.

    • von_todwin

      Mighta saved them from the two errors from Cleveland’s “defense-specialist” 3B last game.

  • JacobMcCandles

    TV is ecstatic that the pinstripes are prob in

    • Gregor_S

      Yeah, though I don’t think that means as much as it used to. The Yanks don’t win every year, and fans around the country are familiar with Cleveland because of last year.

      • JacobMcCandles

        Maybe…..But the Cowboys have stunk for awhile in football and they are always the #1 watched NFL team

        • dearmidol

          My kids have never seen a relevant Cowboys team.

          • JacobMcCandles

            Yep

          • WhoKnowscs

            I saw bad coaching/play calling lose on Sunday, and the same crappy defense they’ve had for years.

          • elkaba

            Never could defend against the pass.

    • WhoKnowscs

      Too bad they didn’t take note that last years WS had the highest baseball ratings in 25+ years.

      • JacobMcCandles

        Last yr was great

      • dearmidol

        Yankees Cubs would be higher.

  • dearmidol

    Jose Ramirez has been such a disappointment this series.

  • JacobMcCandles

    About the worst thing Chapman could’ve done

    • dearmidol

      Those two runs were huge.

      • JacobMcCandles

        Yep

  • dearmidol

    How can he watch that pitch?

    • JacobMcCandles

      Gotta swing to hit!!! Terrible

  • dearmidol

    One more out.

  • dearmidol

    Q: When was the last time the team with the best record in the American League lost the first round of the playoffs?

    • JacobMcCandles

      Got me

      • dearmidol

        You have to go all the way back to 2016.

        • JacobMcCandles

          Was figuring it was close

          • WhoKnowscs

            Rangers.

          • dearmidol

            Yes.

    • elkaba

      That would be us.

      • dearmidol

        We have a winner.

  • WhoKnowscs

    one strike away.

  • JacobMcCandles

    All I can say is thats what makes MLB the best…..cya in Houston

  • von_todwin

    geez, what a way to go. Two watched strike threes. Great. Embarrassing

    • JacobMcCandles

      Tough way to end a game for Indians

  • WhoKnowscs

    Now I have noone to root for in the ALCS . . . go Cubs.

  • von_todwin

    It’s tough. I love the role rhythm plays in the regular season, but I hate that playoffs can come down to being hot/cold at the right time. I know it’s just the nature of sports, but I still wish there were a way to bridge that a little more smoothly. To me, it’s similar to being a “good student” vs a “good test taker” in school, and all season it’s about being a good student, only to switch to emphasizing test-taking right at the end.

  • possumrld

    My Dad used to say “It is always a mistake to take a pitcher out that has pitched well for several innings, because you never know what the next guy will do, no matter how good they are supposed to be”.
    And I have seen this fact play it’s self out to the detriment of the Rangers, only perhaps 50 times or so this seaosn, in the Rangers games alone.