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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Chris Sale is first pitcher to record 17 strikeouts in seven innings or fewer

Chris Sale is really good at pitching.

The Red Sox pitcher was dealing on Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies, recording a career-high 17 strikeouts in seven innings and making MLB history in the process.

Sale went seven innings, allowing two runs on a two-run homer by Nolan Arenado in the seventh. But other than that, the Rockies didn’t make much contact. Sale struck out his first six batters, one shy of an American League record. He wound up getting eight of the first nine hitters he faced to whiff.

This feels telling about our current moment in baseball, in several different regards.

 

QLE Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:36 AM | 99 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: chris sale, milestones, strikeouts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 15, 2019 at 06:11 AM (#5842176)
Would I be correct in guessing that some relievers have done this spread out over a few games (and possibly a starter spread out over the end of one and start of another)? (I know, they mean 7 innings in one game.)
   2. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:19 AM (#5842182)
I think so, as Hader almost averaged that rate.
   3. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:21 AM (#5842183)
Chris Sale is really good at pitching.

Not good enough to let him finish the damn game, though, which the bullpen promptly lost for him. (But, hey, pitch counts are God!)
   4. TomH Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:24 AM (#5842184)
a quick random check told me Craig Kimbrel, 2012, Aug 28 to Sep 15, pitched 8 1/3rd innings and struck out 21; over eight different games.

Last year (2018), Josh Hader threw 7.1 IP and struck out 20 (!); in other words, TWO outs were NOT strikeouts. Sep 7 to Sep 21.
   5. TomH Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:26 AM (#5842185)
in contrast, who knows the trivia Q about strikeouts and 1960 world series game 7 (Mazeroski)?
   6. John DiFool2 Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:45 AM (#5842193)
This is the 2nd time in 4 years that the Red Sox tied the 9 inning team record for strikeouts. [I actually attended the other, played in TB in Sept. 2016)

Alas, since both games went to extras, the records didn't count.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:00 AM (#5842197)
in contrast, who knows the trivia Q about strikeouts and 1960 world series game 7 (Mazeroski)?

There weren't any. Unsurprisingly, the score was 10 to 9.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:35 AM (#5842199)
ARENADO, BLACKMON STAY HOT IN ROX COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN

I guess that's not as sexy a headline.
   9. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:52 AM (#5842204)
Not good enough to let him finish the damn game, though, which the bullpen promptly lost for him. (But, hey, pitch counts are God!)

Considering that Chris Sale has a recorded history of repeatedly wearing down at the end of seasons, go #### ### #####.
   10. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5842205)
From 4-15 to 5-8 this year, Hader had a stretch of 9.1 innings and 26 strikeouts. Also 6 runs allowed on 4 homers. Talk about a 3 true outcome pitcher. He faced 37 batters and with 4 walks, had 34 true outcomes.
   11. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5842206)
Not good enough to let him finish the damn game, though, which the bullpen promptly lost for him. (But, hey, pitch counts are God!)


Oh come on. At the pace he was going, Sale was going to need ~138 pitches to close the game out. Given some of the concerns about his shoulder and velocity early this season, it's perfectly reasonable to not want him to throw that many pitches.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5842207)
Oh come on. At the pace he was going, Sale was going to need ~138 pitches to close the game out. Given some of the concerns about his shoulder and velocity early this season, it's perfectly reasonable to not want him to throw that many pitches.

Of course we still haven't seen any actual evidence that throwing 140 pitches is dangerous for a mature pitcher.

I mean who cares about setting a major record, right?
   13. eric Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5842213)
Roger Clemens had 17 K's through 7 innings* on Sept 18, 1996. That was back when men or men (or some such) and he finished the game and got to 20. This "record" of Sale's is for pitchers who only pitched 7 or fewer innings in a single game.

*He also had 19 through 8 in the same game, but that's probably another non-record. Oh, and he had 151 pitches that game. And, yes, I know Nolan Ryan calls both Clemens and Sale lightweights.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:29 AM (#5842214)
I mean who cares about setting a major record, right?


If I were the Red Sox, I'd have been less concerned about setting a major record and more concerned about pulling my best pitcher out of a tight game.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:31 AM (#5842215)
If I were the Red Sox, I'd have been less concerned about setting a major record and more concerned about pulling my best pitcher out of a tight game.

That's modern baseball. Who cares about tonight's game when we can worry about games two months from now.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5842220)
FWIW, the guy (Workman) they replaced him with was on a streak of 10+ innings without allowing a hit or a run, and the following reliever (Barnes) has been almost as hot.
   17. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5842221)
Of course we still haven't seen any actual evidence that throwing 140 pitches is dangerous for a mature pitcher.


Correct. There's maybe a little more there than astrology, but not a whole lot more.

The whole thing is the herd mentality and risk aversion run amok; it has little to do with science or analysis or empiricism. No one is going to risk sticking their neck out and letting a Sale throw 150 pitches lest he wind up injured down the road. At that point the herd will link the injury to the 150 pitch outing, with no real evidence supporting it, and the risker will be in trouble. Not close to worth it.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5842223)
That's modern baseball. Who cares about tonight's game when we can worry about games two months from now.

Yeah, much better to let Sale gas himself last night, maybe or maybe not win the game, and then fade in August and September like Sale did in 2017 and 2018. As a Yankees fan, I approve this message.
   19. puck Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5842232)
Looks like Sale has recovered nicely from his bad April.

Rockies send German Marquez tonight. Their pitching rotation is set up pretty well for this series. Rockies are still trying to reach .500 and would get there with a win today. (Why only a 2 game series though?)
   20. puck Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5842235)
Shouldn't the Rockies bring up Brendan Rodgers? 2nd base has been a big hole in the order.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5842238)
Yeah, much better to let Sale gas himself last night, maybe or maybe not win the game, and then fade in August and September like Sale did in 2017 and 2018. As a Yankees fan, I approve this message.

Again, there is zero evidence that an extra 30 pitches in May has any impact on a pitcher's performance in Sept. That's really not how physical fatigue works.

If they were worried, they could always give him an extra day or two between starts.
   22. caspian88 Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5842240)
So give nine innings to inferior pitchers instead of two innings?
   23. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5842242)
Again, there is zero evidence that an extra 30 pitches in May has any impact on a pitcher's performance in Sept. That's really not how physical fatigue works.


Sale was pulled after seven. In the top of the eighth, the Rockies led off with one of their best left-handed hitters, then had two light-hitting righty batters, followed by the Rockies' best left-handed hitter. Hindsight is 20/20, but that seems like an inning when you'd want Sale on the mound, especially since the Sox don't have a lefty in the bullpen. You get through those four hitters and you're into the RHB part of the Rockies lineup - then you can bring in your righty relievers.

Not that I'm complaining.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:37 AM (#5842243)
So give nine innings to inferior pitchers instead of two innings?

More like 5, but 5 much lower leverage innings. And who knows, it might rain.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5842250)
Generally in this situation I think the manager should defer to the player's desires. However, because Sale has known injury/durability issues, and has also just recently signed a huge extension, I can see why they would pull him. He might be the one guy in the rotation that I wouldn't allow to chase history.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5842251)
Again, there is zero evidence that an extra 30 pitches in May has any impact on a pitcher's performance in Sept. That's really not how physical fatigue works.


Then how does it work?

You're taking a reasonable position (that the current methods of pitcher protection have not yielded any signficiant improvements in pitcher health) and extending it beyond anything reasonable. Who the hell has looked at how much extra pitches (whatever extra pitches even means) thrown in May results in fatigued performance (the definition of that, of course, being pretty ambiguous) later in the season?

Chris Sale has thrown more poorly at the tail end of the season over the course of his career. Fatigue has been the most reasonable explanation for that tendency. Removing him before he far exceeds his normal workload is perfectly reasonable.

   27. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5842262)
Fatigue has been the most reasonable explanation for that tendency.


His fatigue could just as easily be because of aggregate workload rather than high pitch counts in a particular outing.
   28. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5842265)
Who the hell has looked at how much extra pitches (whatever extra pitches even means) thrown in May results in fatigued performance (the definition of that, of course, being pretty ambiguous) later in the season?


People in the various "analytics departments"? Seems like a perfectly good question for study and deeper analysis.
   29. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:30 AM (#5842270)
Of course we still haven't seen any actual evidence that throwing 140 pitches is dangerous for a mature pitcher.


Maybe, but what really put the nail in the coffin for 140 pitch games is the evidence that pitchers lose effectiveness the longer they pitch into a game.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5842272)
His fatigue could just as easily be because of aggregate workload rather than high pitch counts in a particular outing.


Very easily could be. Obviously. Whatever it is, I'm sure "throwing pitches" is heavily involved. But Snapper's speaking as if the answer has been already determined.

People in the various "analytics departments"? Seems like a perfectly good question for study and deeper analysis.


To the extent it's possible, they should. But if they have, a) they haven't shared it with us, and b) it might have told them to get Sale the hell out of there last night.

   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5842282)
Maybe, but what really put the nail in the coffin for 140 pitch games is the evidence that pitchers lose effectiveness the longer they pitch into a game.

Sure, but that's not really relevant for a specific pitcher chancing a major record or a specific night.

I agree in general there is no reason to have a SP go >120 pitches, but if it's a perfecto, or no-hitter, or a shot at 21 Ks, you freaking do it.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5842284)
Very easily could be. Obviously. Whatever it is, I'm sure "throwing pitches" is heavily involved. But Snapper's speaking as if the answer has been already determined.

No. I'm saying we have no evidence that a single 140 pitch outing hurts a pitcher, so I'm going to let him chase the record. If I'm worried about fatigue I can baby him later.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5842290)
If I'm worried about fatigue I can baby him later.


Where's the evidence that works?

   34. Itchy Row Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5842296)
There were six games where a starter was removed after pitching 7 innings and striking out 16. Jake Peavy did it twice, and James Paxton (last year), Michael Pineda, Cliff Lee, and Randy Johnson each did it once. Johnson also had a 6.2 IP/16 K start, and a 7 IP/16 K relief appearance. All three of Johnson's were in 2001.

The relief appearance was in a continuation of a game that was suspended because parts of Qualcomm started exploding. Curt Schilling got the first six guys out on July 18 and then Johnson pitched the last seven innings the next day. Johnson took the combined perfect game into the sixth, when he walked Wiki Gonzalez, and the no-hitter into the eighth, when Wiki singled. No other Padres reached base. The 16 strikeouts is the record for a relief appearance.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5842303)
Where's the evidence that works?

None. It's a PR gesture.
   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5842307)

There were six games where a starter was removed after pitching 7 innings and striking out 16. Jake Peavy did it twice, and James Paxton (last year), Michael Pineda, Cliff Lee, and Randy Johnson each did it once. Johnson also had a 6.2 IP/16 K start, and a 7 IP/16 K relief appearance. All three of Johnson's were in 2001.

I'd be curious what the pitch counts were in those games.
   37. Itchy Row Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5842311)
Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP SO Pit
1 Chris Sale 5
/14/2019 BOS COL L 4-5 GS-7 7 17 108
         
2 James Paxton 5
/2/2018 SEA OAK L 2-3 GS-7 7 16 105
3 Michael Pineda 5
/10/2015 NYY BAL W 6-2 GS-7W 7 16 111
4 Cliff Lee 5
/6/2011 PHI ATL L 0-5 GS-7L 7 16 117
5 Jake Peavy 4
/25/2007 SDP ARI L 2-3 GS-7 7 16 117
6 Jake Peavy 5
/22/2006 SDP ATL L 1-3 GS-7L 7 16 114
7 Randy Johnson 9
/27/2001 ARI MIL W 13-11 GS-7W 6.2 16 126
8 Randy Johnson 8
/23/2001 ARI PIT L 1-5 GS-7L 7 16 115
9 Randy Johnson 7
/18/2001 ARI SDP W 3-0 3-GFW 7 16 109 
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5842320)

#37 Thanks!
   39. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5842328)
Sure, but that's not really relevant for a specific pitcher chancing a major record or a specific night.


Exactly. It doesn't even necessarily need to be chasing a record; it can be as little as the pitcher being very on that night.(*) Pulling really good pitchers in favor of significantly less good pitchers just because, and then proceeding to have those significantly less good pitchers whiff away the game is ... sub-optimal.

(*) It's a very small sample size, and I only looked at last year, but Sale was lights out on pitches 101+, even as compared to the other 25 pitch units BB-ref has.(*) There's a confirmation bias, there, of course in that he probably only was allowed to get to 101+ on nights he was more likely to be "on" -- but that't the type of confirmation bias teams should mine. They certainly shouldn't just eliminate the signal just because.

(*) Slash line 045/125/091.
   40. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5842335)
deGrom was the same way on 101+ last year: Slash 120/120/160, far better than any other 25-pitch unit. He got worse in each 25 pitch unit, up to the 101+ unit, where he got way better.
   41. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5842339)
I get that strikeouts are super effective for preventing runs, but give me Kyle Hendricks any day. In his last 3 starts, he went 8+, 8, and 9 IP, never topping 100 pitches, and striking out 17 total (and only 1 walk).
   42. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5842340)
Scherzer was better at 101+ than 26-50 and 75-100, about the same as 51-75. Worse than 1-25.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5842341)
but that't the type of confirmation bias teams should mine. They certainly shouldn't just eliminate the signal just because.

And the inverse is true. Teams used to regularly remove SP in the early innings when they were "off", and pitching poorly, saving wear and tear. Now, with the lack of long relievers, teams try very, very hard to force a starter through 5 innings.

I firmly believe a 9 IP, 140 pitch game with 2 runs, 10 Ks, 2 BB, and 6 hits, is a hell of a lot less stressful than a 4 IP, 110 pitch game with 6 runs, 4 K's, 5 BB, and 8 hits.
   44. Bug Selig Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5842342)
You're taking a reasonable position (that the current methods of pitcher protection have not yielded any signficiant improvements in pitcher health) and extending it beyond anything reasonable.
I don't think the first half of that is as simple as it is stated. I think it would be better to state it as "Current methods of pitcher protection have not been able to completely offset the damaging effects of pitchers throwing harder than they used to."
   45. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:23 PM (#5842345)
I firmly believe a 9 IP, 140 pitch game with 2 runs, 10 Ks, 2 BB, and 6 hits, is a hell of a lot less stressful than a 4 IP, 110 pitch game with 6 runs, 4 K's, 5 BB, and 8 hits.


Absolutely. The existence of the outperformance is in and of itself an indication of lower stress. Most likely a strong one.
   46. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5842347)
I don't think the first half of that is as simple as it is stated. I think it would be better to state it as "Current methods of pitcher protection have not been able to completely offset the damaging effects of pitchers throwing harder than they used to."


The "[er] than they used to" is superfluous. The human body wasn't designed to repetitively throw a baseball overhand even 80 or 85 MPH and doing so will, by the very nature of the activity, tend to induce injury to the joints and ligaments involved. Some bodies happen to be able to do it with few or no disabling injuries. We have little to no ability to predict which ones can, or to help the ones that can't systematically avoid disabling injuries. Once we understand this, it's a tiny leap to understanding that the idea that pitch count is some kind of useful heuristic in the effort is pretty comical -- impossible to take seriously. Praying or doing an old school rain dance to attempt to ward off injury is barely less comical.
   47. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5842348)
I don't think the first half of that is as simple as it is stated. I think it would be better to state it as "Current methods of pitcher protection have not been able to completely offset the damaging effects of pitchers throwing harder than they used to."

Starters don't really throw that much harder. Measurement changes have added 3-4 MPH to the average fast ball since the 1970s.

It's the one IP RPs who throw harder; or more accurately, more of them throw hard.
   48. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5842352)
Starters don't really throw that much harder. Measurement changes have added 3-4 MPH to the average fast ball since the 1970s.


When did that change occur? Because you can't find it in this chart.. There is no 3-4 MPH one year jump in the chart. The biggest one year change is less than 1 MPH. Or did individual stadiums gradually change over time? Like a few one year, and others changed over subsequent years?
   49. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5842362)
People here are also completely ignoring that Sale allowed a 2 run HR himself, in the inning after which he was pulled. The notion that he would have just cruised on to victory, while striking out 21 hitters, is purely wishcasting.

Bringing in a couple of relievers, who had been lights out recently, should really not be all that controversial.
   50. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5842365)
Then how does it work?

You're taking a reasonable position (that the current methods of pitcher protection have not yielded any signficiant improvements in pitcher health) and extending it beyond anything reasonable. Who the hell has looked at how much extra pitches (whatever extra pitches even means) thrown in May results in fatigued performance (the definition of that, of course, being pretty ambiguous) later in the season?

Chris Sale has thrown more poorly at the tail end of the season over the course of his career. Fatigue has been the most reasonable explanation for that tendency. Removing him before he far exceeds his normal workload is perfectly reasonable.

Snapper is taking the position, that jibes with his preconceived notion, regardless of things like common sense, or science.

When people talk about "fatigue" with pitchers, it isn't the same kind of fatigue as running a half marathon, and needing to carb-load for 2 days to recover. These are pretty much exclusively repetitive stress injuries, tendinitis and build up of inflammation, that cause a loss of effectiveness. They build up the more you pitch, pretty much tautologically.

Snapper is relying on the fact that pitching performances have enough other variables and volatility that isolating the effect of one particular factor purely from results is basically impossible (especially without access to the underlying medical data that would be necessary to do so). So that he can push his prior of "men should be men, and rub some dirt on it, and throw until their arms fall off," and "hard work and self-sacrifice is the ultimate sign of personal character."

But common sense will tell you, that building up more inflammation is ultimately going to be bad for performance.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5842369)

When did that change occur? Because you can't find it in this chart.. There is no 3-4 MPH one year jump in the chart. The biggest one year change is less than 1 MPH. Or did individual stadiums gradually change over time? Like a few one year, and others changed over subsequent years?


It has happened gradually as the technology evolved and change from radar guns (fast and slow) to PitchFX, to Stat Cast.

The difference is where the ball is measured. The original "slow" radar gun measured speed 5-10 feet in front of the plate. The "fast" gun measured it further from the plate. PitchFX measured it ~40 feet from the plate, and the Statcast measures it right out of the pitcher's hand.

Since a 95 MPH pitch is going to decelerate 1 MP per 10 feet of travel, that a ~4 MPH difference due to technology.

Guys like Aroldis Chapman aren't really throwing 3-4 MPH faster than Nolan Ryan. It's all measurement. 100-101 MPH (old style) is basically the limit a human arm can endure.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5842370)
I think it would be better to state it as "Current methods of pitcher protection have not been able to completely offset the damaging effects of pitchers throwing harder than they used to."


As others have said, I don't think it's necessarily true (or even if it is, I don't know that it's necessarily relevant). I assume that most pitchers throughout history have tended to throw at or near as hard as they were capable of). That they might be able to throw a few more MPH, on average, now, does not mean that yesterday's pitchers weren't also throwing at maximum effort* when they dialed up the fastball.

And, as we've seen, pitchers such as Mark Buehrle and Bronson Arroyo have gotten injured. It's not just flamethrowers who suffer injury.

The one-inning reliever would be an exception, as I do suspect they tend to throw more pitches at max effort than pitchers of 40 years ago.

   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5842372)
Snapper is taking the position, that jibes with his preconceived notion, regardless of things like common sense, or science.

When people talk about "fatigue" with pitchers, it isn't the same kind of fatigue as running a half marathon, and needing to carb-load for 2 days to recover. These are pretty much exclusively repetitive stress injuries, tendinitis and build up of inflammation, that cause a loss of effectiveness. They build up the more you pitch, pretty much tautologically.

Snapper is relying on the fact that pitching performances have enough other variables and volatility that isolating the effect of one particular factor purely from results is basically impossible (especially without access to the underlying medical data that would be necessary to do so). So that he can push his prior of "men should be men, and rub some dirt on it, and throw until their arms fall off," and "hard work and self-sacrifice is the ultimate sign of personal character."

But common sense will tell you, that building up more inflammation is ultimately going to be bad for performance.


So, no pitcher should ever pitch again?

There's zero evidence that throwing 100 pitches every 5th day leads to less stress injury than something throwing 120, sometimes 140, and sometimes being pulled after 50. Or that extra days off isn't better for healing the injuries than a pitch limit. Or that 140 pitches when you're "on" isn't less stressful than 80 when you're "off".

Modern pitcher usage is all basically CYA voodoo. All group-think and no science. They've massively reduced the workload of starters, and they still all get hurt.

Since the point of baseball is entertainment, it's worth a little alleged risk to see a guy set a record.
   54. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5842373)
These are pretty much exclusively repetitive stress injuries, tendinitis and build up of inflammation, that cause a loss of effectiveness.TThey build up the more you pitch, pretty much tautologically.


Sure, but then they heal, allowing you to pitch again in a few days typically. Which is why Chris Sale will be far better on pitches 1-25 four days after his start than one day after his start.

So there's no real tautology involved. Fatigue and injury are a function primarily of body, fatigue rate, healing rate, and healing time.
   55. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5842375)
It has happened gradually as the technology evolved and change from radar guns (fast and slow) to PitchFX, to Stat Cast.

The difference is where the ball is measured. The original "slow" radar gun measured speed 5-10 feet in front of the plate. The "fast" gun measured it further from the plate. PitchFX measured it ~40 feet from the plate, and the Statcast measures it right out of the pitcher's hand.


This has all been reported previously, so it shouldn't really be news.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5842378)
This has all been reported previously, so it shouldn't really be news.

But people are still like "Guys in 1970 were throwing 90 MPH and now they're throwing 95 MPH. Pitchers are so much better." It's not true. It's apples and oranges
   57. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5842381)
But people are still like "Guys in 1970 were throwing 90 MPH and now they're throwing 95 MPH. Pitchers are so much better." It's not true. It's apples and oranges


Agreed -- those were the people I was addressing.

(I'm not sure I'd fully agree if the date is 1970 since we've had massive changes in training methods and pitching has become a lucrative, full-time job since then. Those would tend to potentially cause a secular break. But there's no reason whatever to believe there was a secular break in something like 2012 or 2014.)
   58. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:57 PM (#5842391)
The difference is where the ball is measured. The original "slow" radar gun measured speed 5-10 feet in front of the plate. The "fast" gun measured it further from the plate. PitchFX measured it ~40 feet from the plate, and the Statcast measures it right out of the pitcher's hand.

Since a 95 MPH pitch is going to decelerate 1 MP per 10 feet of travel, that a ~4 MPH difference due to technology.


Got it, thanks. I knew the second part, I just didn't know how the differing measuring methods were introduced. Still, I'll note that statcast was introduced kn 2015, and 2016 still showed a (slight) increase. I'll see if there's data from 2017 and 2018 to see if it is still going up, which would indicate it's not entirely a measurement phenomena.
   59. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:01 PM (#5842396)
There is zero evidence that pitchers can't start 70 games a year.

Sale should aim for 400 IP.

   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5842399)
Got it, thanks. I knew the second part, I just didn't know how the differing measuring methods were introduced. Still, I'll note that statcask was introduced kn 2015, and 2016 still showed a (slight) increase. I'll see if there's data from 2017 and 2018 to see if it is still going up, which would indicate it's not entirely a measurement phenomena.

I agree it's not 100% measurement, especially not for middle relievers. Every team now has 5 guys who can throw high-90s, where a 70s team had 1-2 guys who could throw the mid-90s equivalent. But, for SPs and elite closers it's mostly measurement.
   61. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5842401)
One of the issues as it relates to starting pitcher fatigue could be the disappearance of the no-power hitter they could relax against. As recently as 1976, fully 1 out of 3 batting title qualifiers hit <= 5 HR and almost 1 out of 4 hit <= 3 HR. A bi-decade summary:

Year  Qualifiers*  >=30   >=20    <=5   <=3   <=1
1956          85  14.1
%  43.5%  12.910.6%   2.4%
1976         119   3.3%  16.8%  33.623.5%  13.4%
1996         148  28.4%  56.1%  11.5%  4.7%   2.7%
2016         147  24.5%  62.6%   3.4%  1.4%   0.0



* Traded players may appear more than once in the annual bbref Standard Batting tables. I'm not correcting for that. It doesn't change the broader trends.

Another factor is probably the length of the games themselves. Even taking breaks, having to exercise for 2 hours is more taxing to me than having to exercise for 1 hour.
   62. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5842404)
I agree it's not 100% measurement, especially not for middle relievers. Every team now has 5 guys who can throw high-90s, where a 70s team had 1-2 guys who could throw the mid-90s equivalent. But, for SPs and elite closers it's mostly measurement.


That graph I linked to tracked data only from pitchers who threw 90+ innings in a given year. So it eliminates most if not all relievers.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5842410)
That graph I linked

I don't see a link?
   64. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5842415)
Post #48.
   65. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5842417)
There is zero evidence that pitchers can't start 70 games a year.

Sale should aim for 400 IP.


Four hundred innings in 70 starts is 5 2/3 innings per start. The season is about 180 days, so 70 starts would be every 2.5 days or so, or two starts every five days.

Guys in the early 70s were throwing mid to high 300s in innings, starting every four and a half days or so, with the expectation that they would throw 9 or more innings per start.

So I wouldn't concede that a 70 start, 400 IP season is undoable. I wouldn't remotely concede that a 70 start season is undoable. They might be for Sale, but not inherently.

It might be undoable, but there's no reason to necessarily believe it is based on current knowledge and data. All that would have to occur would be shorter outings with less rest. That happens in the postseason all the time.

There's nothing even magic about four or five days rest. It's just tradition and long-standing practice. The underlying assumption is that all pitchers' arms and bodies are roughly the same in terms of recovery, fatigue, and propensity to injury -- when in fact the dispersion is much wider. Eventually someone will break from that, too, most likely in conjuction with the opener movement and we'll get a better picture.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5842424)
Post #48.

Thx. It's not clear to me from that graph if he is controlling for the measurement tech. I'd guess he's not.
   67. jmurph Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5842426)
Guys in the early 70s were throwing mid to high 300s in innings

Checking for my own sake:

1970: 4 guys at 300+ innings (high of 328.2)
1971: 4 guys at 300+ innings (high of 376, 2nd place at 334)
1972: 4 guys at 300+ innings (high of 376.2, 2nd place at 346.1)
1973: 7 guys at 300+ innings (high of 359.1)
   68. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5842432)
(*) Some guys are Nolan Ryan, some are Johnny Venters. Some blow their arms out before they can even pitch a single professional inning. Given this, why would you ever standardize rest times, preparation, etc., so much? Makes zero sense.
   69. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5842435)
I'd actually go so far as to say it's likely we'll see a 50 or even 60 start season in the next 30 years. Even the five inning number is in people's heads only because it's the number needed for a win. Once you decouple the win from the mindset of starting pitchers (*), and "five innings" becomes meaningless, and the idea of a starting rotation goes astray because of openers (**), the door will be open to starting the right guy 50 or 60 times.

(*) Assuming there even are a lot of true starting pitchers. This area is in complete flux and isn't even close to equilibrium or consensus.

(**) As it's already starting to.
   70. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5842438)
It's not clear to me from that graph if he is controlling for the measurement tech. I'd guess he's not.


Probably not. It's useful to the extent it excludes relievers, and that is shows gradual increases in all but a couple of years. That's why I asked if there was ever a league wide change in measurement tech, because if that's the only, or biggest reason for the increase, that graph doesn't show it.
   71. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5842446)
(*) Some guys are Nolan Ryan, some are Johnny Venters. Some blow their arms out before they can even pitch a single professional inning. Given this, why would you ever standardize rest times, preparation, etc., so much? Makes zero sense.

I think teams handle pitchers conservatively because it can take years to figure out which ones are the Nolan Ryans. Brandon Webb looked like a guy who could consistently throw 230 innings per season, until he suddenly couldn't throw any.

But at a certain point, once a guy shows he's fragile or durable or whatever, teams don't standardize their usage. They give certain guys extra days off. They give some guys a shorter leash and others longer. There seems to be an upper limit to frequency of usage and maybe that's not the right approach. But as you note all of this stuff is currently in flux.

It's also worth noting that the postseason is longer than it used to be and more pitchers need to be prepared to pitch during it. You can't necessarily expect guys to throw as heavy loads during the regular season and still be fresh in late October / early November.
   72. JAHV Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5842450)
From 4-15 to 5-8 this year, Hader had a stretch of 9.1 innings and 26 strikeouts. Also 6 runs allowed on 4 homers. Talk about a 3 true outcome pitcher. He faced 37 batters and with 4 walks, had 34 true outcomes.


Jeez. I have nothing to add here other than I'm not a fan of true outcome baseball. This is ridiculous.
   73. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5842452)
In 17 days between June 21 and July 7, 1974, Mike Marshall appeared in 15 games and pitched 32 2/3 innings. There's no reason whatever those 32 2/3 innings couldn't have been eight four-inning starts, or six five-inning starts, instead.

For the year, he appeared in 102 games and pitched 208 innings.
   74. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5842453)

Guys like Aroldis Chapman aren't really throwing 3-4 MPH faster than Nolan Ryan. It's all measurement. 100-101 MPH (old style) is basically the limit a human arm can endure.

Guys may not be capable of throwing faster, but are they throwing more pitches at that higher speed?

I also remember seeing an article last year that pitchers are now throwing more breaking pitches than they were a decade ago (this is partly due to them being ahead in the count more, and partly due simply to different pitch selection in equivalent situations). That might also put more strain on the arm.
   75. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5842457)
But at a certain point, once a guy shows he's fragile or durable or whatever, teams don't standardize their usage.


Good point -- they do adjust a bit for the fragile guys. The next step is adjustment the other way for the durable guys. Same coin, two sides.
   76. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5842461)
There is zero evidence that pitchers can't start 70 games a year.

Sale should aim for 400 IP.


Hear, hear!

But that's too small a sample size. I'd say we'd need Eovaldi, Price and Porcello to log 400 IP each in order to give it a fair test.
   77. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5842464)
Guys in the early 70s were throwing mid to high 300s in innings

And guys in the early 70s weren't throwing to entire lineups with home run capabilities, or in parks like YS3 and Camden Yards.
   78. GGC Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5842466)
Is "." ,zop? Sugar Bear has a similar handle, but this doesn't sound like him. Sugar Bear's more likely to complain about how Jordan's is ruining furniture shopping by putting a zipline in their store. (A sentiment I might actually agree with.)
   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5842468)
"." is SBB.
   80. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5842469)
'.' is SB (He is the only poster I have on ignore here, so it's easy to tell)

zop is '....' I think. Might be an extra dot or whatever.
   81. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5842472)
There is zero evidence that pitchers can't start 70 games a year.

Sale should aim for 400 IP.



You joke, but in Japan they used to do it. Hiroshi Gondo. Juzo Sanada.
   82. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5842473)
Marshall's usage pattern actually kind of looks like management deciding to do the kind of \"#### it, this guy is really good and durable, we're pushing the envelope" that should happen more:

1972 (age 29), leads league with 65 appearances, 116 innings. (CY-4)
1973 (age 30), leads league with 92 appearances, 179 innings. (CY-2)

In 1974, traded to LA:

(age 31), leads league with 106 appearances, 208 innings. Wins Cy Young.
   83. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5842480)
Guys may not be capable of throwing faster, but are they throwing more pitches at that higher speed?


It stands to reason that this is the case, yeah. Same workload divided among way more pitchers, less pacing, higher average pitch speed seen by hitters.
   84. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5842488)
Guys may not be capable of throwing faster, but are they throwing more pitches at that higher speed?

I also remember seeing an article last year that pitchers are now throwing more breaking pitches than they were a decade ago (this is partly due to them being ahead in the count more, and partly due simply to different pitch selection in equivalent situations). That might also put more strain on the arm.


Good questions. I don't know that I've seen evidence on either.
   85. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5842490)
There's no reason whatever those 32 2/3 innings couldn't have been eight four-inning starts, or six five-inning starts, instead.


And you know this how?

Marshall's usage pattern actually kind of looks like management deciding to do the kind of \"#### it, this guy is really good and durable, we're pushing the envelope" that should happen more:

1972 (age 29), leads league with 65 appearances, 116 innings. (CY-4)
1973 (age 30), leads league with 92 appearances, 179 innings. (CY-2)

In 1974, traded to LA:

(age 31), leads league with 106 appearances, 208 innings. Wins Cy Young.


And then the next year he threw 100 fewer, at a much higher ERA. And the following year, 110 fewer at an even higher ERA. And the next year only 41 IP, at again, an even higher ERA. Maybe Marshall would have fallen apart anyway, but in those 3 years you cited, he averaged 3.3 WAR per year. In the following 3 years he averaged -0.3. Doesn't seem like a ringing endorsement for his 1974 usage.

Plus winning and deserving ( the latter a much better indication of value) the CYA are 2 different things. He pitched 100 fewer innings at a much inferior ERA+ than Phil Niekro. He wasn't even particularly close to being the best pitcher on his own team.
   86. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5842493)
Re Hader and TTO:

The strikeout rate is now 23.2% (*) of all PAs. It's gone up 0.9% just since last year. That's the eighth-highest one-year change in baseball history.

(*) By this time next year, it could very easily be that one out of every four PAs end in a strikeout.
   87. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5842497)
And you know this how?


I don't "know" it, but the hypothesis seems reasonable based on: common sense; experience; good insight and judgment; good ability to think rationally and analytically; thinking through possible reasons and either not finding them, or rejecting them.

I'd say that's most of it. Perhaps you have some contrary reasons the innings couldn't have been divided that way that I haven't thought of?
   88. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5842505)
I don't "know" it


Then don't be so firm in the truthfulness of your hypotheses. "There is no reason for..." indicates sureness.

thinking through possible reasons and either not finding them, or rejecting them.


Maybe he was incapable of pitching that many innings in one game so many times in a short span of time. In 1974, he exceeded 4 IP 8 times: 2 in May (10 and 15, the closest 2), 2 in July (2 and 28), 2 in August (19 and 25), and 2 in September (14 and 26). he made only 1 appearance between his 2 May stints, and faced 5 batters. He made only 2 appearances between his 2 Aug ones, and faced 14 batters total. Given that Marshall hadn't started a game since 1970, and was generally terrible as a starter throughout his career, that's pretty good evident that there might have been a reason.
   89. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5842508)
Maybe he was incapable of pitching that many innings in one game so many times in a short span of time. In 1974, he exceeded 4 IP 8 times: 2 in May (10 and 15, the closest 2), 2 in July (2 and 28), 2 in August (19 and 25), and 2 in September (14 and 26). he made only 1 appearance between his 2 May stints, and faced 5 batters. He made only 2 appearances between his 2 Aug ones, and faced 14 batters total. Given that Marshall hadn't started a game since 1970, and was generally terrible as a starter throughout his career, that's pretty good evident that there might have been a reason.


OK, yes, this was sub-optimal communication on my part. The hypothesis wasn't really limited to Marshall in particular, but to anyone.(*) I'm trying to explore/find reasonable upper bounds here because the 70 start/400 inning snarkitude piqued my curiosity, and one device I'm using by way of exploration is finding actual upper bounds. That was really the point of the Marshall example, and some of the other data I've posted, and I'd adopt post 81's citation of the Japan numbers as well.

(*) So the hypothesis is more properly stated as "Given Marshall's data, there's no reason whatever to think that someone couldn't spread out those 33 innings in 17 days differently, for example by making eight 4-inning starts or six 5-inning starts.(**)"

(**) Six 5-inning starts would actually be 10% fewer innings.
   90. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5842509)
OK, yes, this was sub-optimal communication on my part.


Fair enough.
   91. . Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5842525)
And then the next year he threw 100 fewer, at a much higher ERA. And the following year, 110 fewer at an even higher ERA. And the next year only 41 IP, at again, an even higher ERA. Maybe Marshall would have fallen apart anyway, but in those 3 years you cited, he averaged 3.3 WAR per year. In the following 3 years he averaged -0.3. Doesn't seem like a ringing endorsement for his 1974 usage.


See the problem here, though? It's what snapper talked about. Marshall's 1974 innings count and from the perspective of 1974 they count. The purpose of managing and deploying Marshall in 1974 wasn't only, solely, or even materially how he would pitch in 1976 or 1977. Why give up 100 of those CYA-caliber 1974 innings when he might have (relatively) fallen apart the very same way in 1975-77 even if he hadn't pitched them?

This is just another symptom of the modern sports thing where the discusson/thought process is focused way too much on the future in lieu of today's game and what's going on now. We've touched on this in some pretty good threads in the last year or so. It extends far beyond player usage.

   92. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5842538)
Ian Snell struck out 17 (13 in a row) in 7 innings against Louisville about 10 years ago. He and the Pirates had been fighting over the team's insistence that he work inside. They finally sent him down, and he struck out 17 in his first start. Pretty much every third strike was low and away.
   93. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:51 PM (#5842565)
The whole thing is the herd mentality and risk aversion run amok; it has little to do with science or analysis or empiricism.

As long as pitchers get hurt -- and they will -- and pitching coaches get blamed -- and they will -- this will continue. You can't blame a pitching coach for wanting to stay a pitching coach, rather than go out in the real world and get a real job for a lot less money.
   94. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5842576)
And then the next year he threw 100 fewer, at a much higher ERA. And the following year, 110 fewer at an even higher ERA. And the next year only 41 IP, at again, an even higher ERA. Maybe Marshall would have fallen apart anyway, but in those 3 years you cited, he averaged 3.3 WAR per year. In the following 3 years he averaged -0.3. Doesn't seem like a ringing endorsement for his 1974 usage.

He had a back injury, so it's not not an endorsement either.
   95. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:46 PM (#5842590)
Tonight's Red Sox game is what usually happens when you leave the starter in, and it was probably managed the way it was because of the second guessing of last night's game.
   96. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:40 PM (#5842609)
I assume people here are aware that Dr. Mike Marshall himself has some pretty interesting views on pitching mechanics, how to prevent pitching injuries, etc.
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:10 PM (#5842626)
pitchers achieving unprecedented K achievements today excite me almost as much as 1930s NL hitting stats.

"the hitters in NL 1930 were so awesome that the Cardinals hit .314 and finished LAST! and the league overall hit .303!"

yawn. starting pitchers hardly give up any hits in a modest amount of innings, but whiff a ton of batters.

................

re Marshall 1974:

"And then the next year he threw 100 fewer, at a much higher ERA. And the following year, 110 fewer at an even higher ERA. And the next year only 41 IP, at again, an even higher ERA."

yes. and then in the next year after that, a 2.45 ERA in 99 IP with 10 W and 21 SV. and the next year, 143 IP with 10 W and a league-best 32 SV and a 2.65 ERA, for the second- and third-best ERA+s of his career.
   98. Sunday silence Posted: May 16, 2019 at 03:13 AM (#5842641)
Then don't be so firm in the truthfulness of your hypotheses. "There is no reason for..." indicates sureness.




He does this in pretty nearly every post. He makes some sweeping incredibly broad over generalization and then stands on that as if its Gospel Truth. Its kind of odd; it can be an effective tactics in debates.
   99. villageidiom Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5842728)
Tonight's Red Sox game is what usually happens when you leave the starter in, and it was probably managed the way it was because of the second guessing of last night's game.
Counterpoint: every Eduardo Rodriguez start is handled the same damn way. They leave him in until he implodes faster than they can remove him, and they act surprised that he ever would implode.

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