September 13, 2021 at 8:38 am #172235
Bob Gibson pitched over 280 innings in 6 seasons. Over 300 innings in several seasons. Juan Marichal the same thing. 6 seasons with 280 innings or more. Pitched 326 innings in 1968. Same profile for Seaver and Spahn. There are many more examples.
Why are starters taken out so early now? Are they pampered? Is it the 3 times through the lineup principle? And if they’re pitching less innings, why do so many more arm injuries today? Just curious.September 13, 2021 at 8:57 am #172239kscardfanParticipantFree
When you go through rehab after a shoulder surgery etc, what do you do? Work those muscles breaking down tissue in order for it to rebuild. I have always felt the babying of arms that goes on hurts more than helps.. The past proves it out..September 13, 2021 at 9:05 am #172240Cardinal in FranceParticipantFree
bccran: It’s because somebody, somewhere came up with the magical figure 100 as the number of pitches after which a starter’s arm will fall off, and since then that number has been chiseled into stone and burned into the brains of managers. Just like the idea that a pitcher, even he he is sizzling in the eighth inning, cannot finish the game. He must be removed in favor of a so-called “closer.”September 13, 2021 at 9:16 am #17224414NyquisTParticipant
I would not not call it pampering but rather being over protective(it sounds better). Those are very expensive and valuable arms out there. However I do miss the four-man rotations…. complete games and starters getting a W or L.
I doubt we’ll never see anything like that ever again.
(Now the relievers have more Ws and Ls than the starters.)September 13, 2021 at 10:09 am #172246gscottarParticipantPaid - Annual
The spreadsheet wizards have convinced everyone that a starting pitcher can only face a lineup twice through the batting order. It doesn’t seem to have bothered Waino this year.September 13, 2021 at 10:59 am #172249Euro DandyParticipantFree
Part of it is over-specialization in the game, e.g., niche roles like LOOGY, 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, closer, etc. Pitching staffs are bigger and if you give managers and coaches all these gadgets, they will use them. They are probably somewhat directed on how to use them by the guys who spend millions to get them. I know it’s the skeptic in me, but I believe many managers feel better about themselves the messier their lineup sheets are after a game.
So spreadsheet guys (I seriously love spreadsheets!) have data that pitchers don’t do as well 3rd time through the lineup. Part of that is self-fulfilling prophesy though because if starters aren’t developed to go many innings, there is no expectation they will do it, and therefore they can’t do it. Sometimes mucho data leads to mucho misinterpretation.
The other thing you hear is pitchers throw with so much velo these days they can’t throw as many pitches in a game. Part of that is self-fulfilling prophecy too. Teach and develop guys to “pitch” and value them accordingly instead of focusing on just the flamethrowers. A lot of flamethrowers tend to trust their gas more than pitching guile, because they have none.
Maybe scouting has gotten too lazy. They focus on live arms because you “can’t teach 100 mph,” as if teaching all the other attributes of pitching is just a matter of doing it. That’s just not true. Maybe they should try to identify at a younger age which qualities make a prospect more likely to be a pitcher who will develop depth and variation to his arsenal so he isn’t such an easy puzzle to figure out 3rd time through the order.September 13, 2021 at 11:50 am #172251
Our posters pretty much covered it. Larry Dierker commented on this several years ago as a guest at a local SABR meeting here in Denver.
He said first and foremost, every pitch is clocked today. Coaches are checking the gun on every pitch, which puts pressure on the pitcher to focus on velocity. Back in Gibson’s day pitchers could ease off a little on hitters they could dominate, and the opposing pitcher. Today you cannot really do that. The expectation is to keep the velocity up, at least on the power pitches.
Second, the money is so much more a part of the entire process that you don’t want to push your investment to the point of breaking.
Personally I think it is like most of our guys here said. Pitchers are conditioned to only go to 100 pitches maximum, and believe that is all they can do. If the focus was like it was years ago, and the expectation was for starting pitchers to complete games, you would see guys able to do that without an increase in injuries. But the entire paradigm is different today, and so we have situation like we did over the weekend where Corbin Burnes was not allowed to complete his no-hitter, as he was up to 115 pitches.
I think back to Gibson’s return from the broken ankle back in 1967. He went 5 innings in his first start back, then threw a complete game that clinched the pennant in his second start. In the post game locker room hoopla he told Harry Caray, “I wanted to go 9 innings”. Man, you would never here that today.September 13, 2021 at 11:59 am #172252forsch31ParticipantFree
I would be willing to bet that the movement started when high-salaried pitchers started getting injured. Teams started looking at where the injuries occurred and started to protect their investments. I believe that in order to keep from being injured, pitchers need to learn to back off the velocity and rely on location, changing speeds and mixing pitches. Hicks may be an example of how throwing that hard all the time can have adverse effects. He could throw 96 with good location and a good sequence and maybe be more effective.September 13, 2021 at 1:15 pm #172253
Very true, Forsch. Hicks is an example of a guy who never should have been put in a role where he was expected to cut loose on every pitch. He should have been groomed as a starter, coached to ease off and only use the 100 stuff now and then in a key situation, and allowed to build body strength.
Who knows how much money Hicks may end up giving up over his career due to poor early-career coaching and mentoring.September 13, 2021 at 5:53 pm #172267
Money is at the root of everything that happens in baseball.September 13, 2021 at 7:09 pm #1722791982 willieParticipantPaid - Annual
It’s very much about analytics. However if you go back through that time period, you will find that a lot of pitchers had arm troubles just like today. The only thing back then was there wasnt no surgery that could fix it so once they got injured, they were pretty much done.September 13, 2021 at 10:33 pm #172319PugsleyAddamsParticipantPaid - Annual
Many pitchers in today’s game give it their all with each and every pitch right out of the gate. A tell tale sign is how they fly all over the mound, leaving themselves in a poor fielding position. Pitchers used to set batters up for their third and maybe fourth time thru the order. Bob Gibson used to sit in the low 90’s early in a game…..unless he got in trouble. He’d keep the blazing stuff in his hip pocket for later in the game. These young guys today rarely see the 7th inning.September 14, 2021 at 7:29 am #172327
Watching Wainwright pitch today is like watching the pitchers of yore. Moving pitches up and down, inside and outside, mixing up pitches, changing speeds, etc.
Many of the pitchers of yore knew well how to “get through the 3rd time in the lineup”. They changed the way they pitched to batters. Didn’t show them the same pattern.September 14, 2021 at 7:41 am #172328
I believe most pitching gurus would say that effecting pitching is all about location and changing speeds. You also hear that a good fastball cannot be taught, so if a guy has the fastball, then you can teach him mechanics, location and that sort of thing.
It’s great to see a kid throw 100, but I question whether or not a lot of organizations know how to use a guy like that. The Cardinals have had a couple of guys come through in recent years, Trevor Rosenthal and Jordan Hicks. Their use of them has lead to arm surgeries at a young age.
Hopefully the organization learns to not get overly enthusiastic about a kid that can throw 100, and puts more emphasis on long-time production rather than short term fireworks.September 14, 2021 at 8:15 am #172329ZTRParticipantFree
Greg Maddox wasn’t exactly a flame thrower…September 14, 2021 at 9:20 am #172331
Greg Maddox is a good example. From 1988-2005, the least amount of innings he pitched was 199 1/3. No arm, elbow, or shoulder problems, no strained oblique, etc. A complete game every 4 starts.September 14, 2021 at 9:43 am #172332
Warren Spahn is another example. Used to love to see that high leg kick. Here are his innings pitched from 1947-1963 –
1947 – 289.2
1948 – 257.0
1949 – 302.1
1950 – 293.0
1951 – 310.2
1952 – 290.0
1953 – 265.2
1954 – 283.1
1955 – 245.2
1956 – 281.1
1957 – 271.0
1958 – 290.0
1959 – 292.0
1960 – 267.2
1961 – 262.2
1962 – 269.1
1963 – 259.2
During his career, he pitched 382 complete games.September 14, 2021 at 10:56 am #172334Cardinal in FranceParticipantFree
Ah Spahn. Now there was a man like they just don’t make anymore.September 14, 2021 at 11:56 am #172337
The Spahn vs. Musial battles were great to watch.September 14, 2021 at 12:07 pm #172338
How many of those guys would have been in MLB if you had to throw upper 90s when you were 18 just to get looked at?September 14, 2021 at 12:29 pm #172339
Spahn had one of the most stylish deliveries ever. That high leg kick and graceful follow through.
He did overdue it towards the end of his career when he and Juan Marichal hooked up in that classic 16 inning double-shutout duel in 1963. Eventually Willie Mays homered off Spahn to end the game.
Spahn missed his next start, which would have been in St. Louis, and was never the same after that. He did finish ’63 with 23 wins I believe, but his arm was shot after that. Still he was 42 years old and throwing 15 2/3 scoreless innings in that battle with Marichal – incredible.September 14, 2021 at 12:33 pm #172340
Players used to go for batting average, and crafty pitchers used to pitch to contact. Make batters swing at their pitches and get them to ground out or pop up.
In the 70s, the average strike outs per nine innings ranged from 4-5. In 2021, it’s 8.71. Today, it’s all about high 90s pitches, strike outs, walks, and home runs. And pitcher’s injuries.September 14, 2021 at 2:15 pm #172341BrockLouParticipantFree
I’m guessing the injuries are due to the wide assortment of pitches most pitchers have. Used to be they had a curveball, a fastball, and one other pitch. Now, they have several different types of fastball alone. Also, it is my understanding that the slider is very tough on the arm.September 14, 2021 at 2:40 pm #172342
I think the pitcher injuries are partly due to them tearing up their arm before they even get to pro ball. So many get TJ surgery early on. What reason is there to think that whatever damaged their UCL didn’t take a toll on everything else. But they have to do what they have to do if they want to play in affiliated ball.September 14, 2021 at 3:53 pm #172345
Fastball, curve ball, change up, screwball, knuckleball, forkball, knuckle curve, spitball, etc. They had lots of pitches.
But mostly they were pitchers and not just throwers.
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