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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Complete games, shutouts nearly extinct in today’s baseball

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The complete game is nearly completely gone from baseball. Shutouts are vanishing, too.

The numbers are striking.

Go back to 1978, and there were more than 1,000 complete games in the majors. Move to 2003, and the total was about 200. In 2018, though, there were only 42 — the lowest total in the sport’s history, according to Baseball-Reference .com — and just 19 of those were shutouts, the fewest since the 1870s.

Or to put it a different way: Roughly every other game featured a starter who went the distance 40 years ago, whereas about one in every 55 games did last season. Stars of the 1960s and ’70s such as Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton or Jim Palmer would top 20 complete games in a year. In the ’90s, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson would get to 10 or 12 or so.

The Associated Press is also running a three-part series involving water being wet.

 

QLE Posted: March 28, 2019 at 05:49 AM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: complete games, shutouts

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   1. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: March 28, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5826065)
There were 312 shutouts in MLB last year in total, which means there were 293 multi-pitcher shutouts.
   2. SandyRiver Posted: March 28, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5826154)
Back in the stone age when I first got interested in baseball, the idea of a multi-pitcher shutout was ludicrous, unless the starter had to leave due to injury or the game went way into extras. Last year, 94% of ShOs were multis.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5826422)
Managers also no longer wear suits in the dugout.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5826426)
Your 21st C shutout leaders:

Halladay 19
Kershaw 15
CC, Cliff Lee, Carpenter 12
Felix, Ervin Santana (!), Tim Hudson 11
Wainwright, Buehrle, Burnett, Johan, Mulder 10

Halladay's chances are looking pretty good.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 28, 2019 at 06:29 PM (#5826442)
One of George Will's annual baseball quiz questions:
Who averaged 301 innings per season during the 1950s with 237 complete games?

1. Whitey Ford
2. Robin Roberts
3. Warren Spahn
4. Billy Pierce


Here's the entire quiz.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 28, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5826446)
Another George Will quiz question
“In 1954, Willie Mays, in an emphatic stroke of Byzantine whimsy, made his over-the-shoulder catch off of Vic Wertz. What was it not unlike?”
   7. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: March 28, 2019 at 07:03 PM (#5826448)
Is it the existential difference between being and becoming?
   8. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 29, 2019 at 07:47 AM (#5826555)
Piffle
   9. DanG Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:05 AM (#5826560)
Who averaged 301 innings per season during the 1950s with 237 complete games?
Who averaged 291 innings per season during the 1970s with 197 complete games?
   10. SandyRiver Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5826561)
One of George Will's annual baseball quiz questions:

Who averaged 301 innings per season during the 1950s with 237 complete games?

1. Whitey Ford
2. Robin Roberts
3. Warren Spahn
4. Billy Pierce

For every year 1951 thru 1963, #2 or #3 led the NL in CG. Would go back thru 1949 except that Braves teammate Vern Bickford's 27 were 2 more than Spahn and Sain. (Not many RP innings on that year's Braves, I guess.)
   11. BrianBrianson Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5826562)
I could believe it's either Niekro or Perry - I don't think anyone else would've averaged 291 innings?
   12. Zonk Was In The Loop and Followed POTUS Orders Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:44 AM (#5826565)
Is there anything more recent than this on average number of pitches per game? I presume that number has only continued to climb...

   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5826568)
The loss of the CG/SHO really does reduce the enjoyment of the game for me. My natural reaction (still) when I saw the Mets beat the Nationals 2-0 was to think "Did deGrom get the SHO?"

Of course not, he was pulled after 6 at only 98 pitches. WTF?
   14. VCar Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5826579)
Of course not, he was pulled after 6 at only 98 pitches. WTF?


Hopefully it's just an Opening Day thing for him. Going back to around 1990, I saw Langston get pulled after 7 shutout innings in game #2 (so his 1st start of the season). BTW, did I mention he had a no-no at the time?
   15. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5826594)
If he's already at 98 pitches after 6 innings, no way he's going to be able to complete the game because I don't know if a pitcher has thrown 130 pitches in a game since Orlando Hernandez retired. (I could be completely wrong about this)

   16. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5826596)
It's definitely just an opening day thing. But how many pitches do you think he should be be allowed to throw? At 6/98, he's almost never going to make it through a full 9.

Anyway, I expected deGrom to get pulled when he did, and I thought it was a very enjoyable game to watch.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5826601)
A 22-year-old Larry Jaster had five shutouts in 1966, all against the same team - your 1966 National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. This while not even qualifying for the ERA title, a 162-IP marker that he never did reach. Larry also completed all three of his starts at age 21, with a nifty 1.61 ERA.

The lanky lefty finished his fabled career at 35-33 with a 93 ERA+ - and got to be an original Montreal Expo.
   18. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:57 AM (#5826604)
The Phillies-Braves game yesterday was interesting on this topic. The Phillies announcers were very impressed by Julio Teheran and his strategy of "missing bats. Never give em anything to hit. You think a fastball's coming down the middle on a full count? No way. Guys now don't care about the pitch count." With the implication that then after the starter comes out, the game is over because the bullpen which is now all 95mph fireballers from a variety of angles comes in.

Teheran left after 88 pitches in 5 innings, and then the bullpen got destroyed. And then Nola left after 99 pitches in 6 innings, and our bullpen didn't do too well either.
   19. Rusty Priske Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5826642)
This is what annoyed me during the Blue Jays/Tigers game yesterday.

When the starters got pulled it was not only duelling shutouts, but it was a 2-hitter vs a 1-hitter. Neither looked in any way tired.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5826645)
It's definitely just an opening day thing. But how many pitches do you think he should be be allowed to throw?

In general? I see no reason established SP can't throw 130 pitches if they're still effective. Maybe more.

There really has never been any evidence that pitch counts in the 120-140 name are harmful to anyone except the youngest pitchers.

Effectiveness becomes an issue, but that's why I'd like to see things done to reduce the effectiveness of RPs (limit the number on the roster, force them to throw more innings), so letting SPs stay in becomes relatively more attractive.
   21. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5826651)
Effectiveness becomes an issue, but that's why I'd like to see things done to reduce the effectiveness of RPs (limit the number on the roster, force them to throw more innings), so letting SPs stay in becomes relatively more attractive.


I agree with the last part, but I'm a little queasy about some of the solutions floated. The Cubs used 5 pitchers in a game they won 12-4, they used 2 (fresh ones) in the 9th up 12-2. And the starter went 6. That's ridiculous.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5826658)
they used 2 (fresh ones) in the 9th up 12-2
No mid-inning pitching changes if you're up or down by more than, say, 5 runs.
   23. Zonk Was In The Loop and Followed POTUS Orders Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5826673)
The waaaaaayyyyy old Rany stuff was certainly flawed - but if memory serves, there was some significant evidence that even beyond health, stacking high pitch count starts B2B2Betc DOES take a toll on effectiveness. Given the way teams now handle the postseason, there's a lot to be said for not 'wasting' your best SPs on a extra pitches where they're not necessary.

In any case, I think the problem really is the lack of smart pitcher management. There's a usage factor for warm-ups and appearances, too. I won't begin to guess what it is or how you measure it (and employ it), but yeah - yesterday's Cub opener was a perfect example.

I think teams - and especially managers - really need the FO and analytics department to provide them some kind of chart/graph akin to the way baseball sims measure "tiredness".... This really doesn't seem like it should be too hard to keep your best pitchers as fresh as possible for the occasion where you DO need them, while simultaneously ensuring guys get the work/stay 'fresh', AND planning for the long haul.

Whoever Joe has on mop-up duty should have been given the ball in the 9th and been told "You're staying in until the game is over or you give up 5 runs".
   24. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5826677)
Whoever Joe has on mop-up duty should have been given the ball in the 9th and been told "You're staying in until the game is over or you give up 5 runs".


Put Monty in in the 7th and tell him the same thing.
   25. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 29, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5826693)
No mid-inning pitching changes if you're up or down by more than, say, 5 runs.


I like it - more from the leading team's perspective: I like the 3-batter rule, but at some point, you have to be able to take out a pitcher who's just getting killed out there. So my counter would be, no mid-inning pitching changes by the team that's leading if it's not a save situation (tying run on base, at bat, or on deck).

Given that it was opening day, I was fine with taking Lester out after 6 with a big lead. And using different pitchers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th doesn't really affect things much, so, sure, why not let three guys get an inning in. But a mid-inning pitching change with an 8 or 10 run lead? Yeah, that's excessive.
   26. DanG Posted: March 29, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5826782)
Most pitches in a game in 2018:

134 Sean Newcomb 2018-07-29 ATL v LAD W 4-1
127 Trevor Bauer 2018-05-27 CLE v HOU W 10-9
127 Tyson Ross 2018-04-20 SDP v ARI W 4-1
122 Justin Verlander 2018-06-19 HOU v TBR L 1-2
122 Trevor Bauer 2018-04-30 CLE v TEX W 7-5
121 Jose Quintana 2018-07-22 CHC v STL W 7-2
121 Dylan Bundy 2018-05-24 BAL v CHW W 9-3
121 Max Scherzer 2018-05-19 (2) WSN v LAD L 4-5
   27. base ball chick Posted: March 29, 2019 at 07:45 PM (#5826833)
snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5826568)

The loss of the CG/SHO really does reduce the enjoyment of the game for me. My natural reaction (still) when I saw the Mets beat the Nationals 2-0 was to think "Did deGrom get the SHO?"

Of course not, he was pulled after 6 at only 98 pitches. WTF


- the eff is that the teams no longer give a rats patootie about some pitcher's achievement. they care about $$$ meaning their financial investment. period. if that had been some nobody AAA guy called up for a spot start they just might could have let him finish because they don't care about what happens to him

my favorite pulled after 90 something pitches was ol shawn chacon - poor ol boy was throwing a 4 hit shutout against the 08 phils - the world champion phils that year - and the manager (one of the 3 worst it has ever been mah misfortune to watch) p-ulled him against his major objections because - and i quote - the closer will always pitch the 9th in any save situation (which did NOT sit real too good with roy oswalt) and in went the closer who gave up the game imediately without getting an out - or maybe 1 out

shawn lost his tiny mind because the bullpen had lost his other game (if i remember rightly) and basically it was about that time thata i knew the manager had lost the clubhouse. which was not a good thing. shawn lost his **** with ed wade sometime later. that was teh awesomeness
   28. Sunday silence Posted: March 29, 2019 at 09:54 PM (#5826867)
Its interesting to think what a more rapid pace of play would do with this issue.

Imagine throwing 120 pitches over 3 hours, and then the same number of pitches/same effectiveness but over an hour and a half? Which would be more tiring? A lot of people myself included, just lose their attention span after 2 or 2.5 hrs...
   29. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5826874)
quick--who was the last guy with double-digit shutouts in a season? (hint--NL 1980's, pretty much a fluke year for him)
   30. DanG Posted: March 30, 2019 at 01:16 AM (#5826973)
Who averaged 291 innings per season during the 1970s with 197 complete games?

I could believe it's either Niekro or Perry - I don't think anyone else would've averaged 291 innings?
Right, Gaylord Perry. If you take the decade 1967-1976, he averaged 308 IP with 232 CG. Fergie Jenkins averaged 291 IP with 210 CG in that same time span.
   31. Howie Menckel Posted: March 30, 2019 at 01:25 AM (#5826975)
I have mentioned before that I covered a high school baseball game in the mid-1980s that ended 1-0 in 14 innings, with one of the pitchers going the distance and throwing 216 pitches.

for some reason, apparently he did not make it to the bigs.

but it was worth it - this was a county tournament quarterfinal game, hence a must-win. but I forget if he won.

I got distracted by one kid's grandfather, on this long and hot day, collapsing in the bleachers around the 11th inning. he wound up DOA.

but the band played on - this was a tournament, dammit!
   32. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 30, 2019 at 01:58 AM (#5826978)
quick--who was the last guy with double-digit shutouts in a season? (hint--NL 1980's, pretty much a fluke year for him)

John Tudor, 1985?
   33. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 30, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5826998)
#32 is correct
   34. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: March 30, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5827008)
I like it - more from the leading team's perspective: I like the 3-batter rule, but at some point, you have to be able to take out a pitcher who's just getting killed out there. So my counter would be, no mid-inning pitching changes by the team that's leading if it's not a save situation (tying run on base, at bat, or on deck).

Given that it was opening day, I was fine with taking Lester out after 6 with a big lead. And using different pitchers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th doesn't really affect things much, so, sure, why not let three guys get an inning in. But a mid-inning pitching change with an 8 or 10 run lead? Yeah, that's excessive.


I would amend that to you can remove the starter at any time. Imagine you are up 12-0, and the starter goes out for the 7th, and suddenly loses it. Do you really want to force him to stay in until he gives up 7 or 8 runs? And now that I think about it, do you really want to force a reliever to stay in to give up 7-8 runs?
   35. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 30, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5827014)
13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5826568)

The loss of the CG/SHO really does reduce the enjoyment of the game for me.
Why do even care about baseball any more? There's apparently nothing in the game that you like.
   36. bobm Posted: March 30, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5827020)
[12]

2018: 148 pitches per game, almost no change from 2009.

3.89 Pitches/PA (up from 2009)
38.08 PA/game (down from 2009)



From the link:

In 1988, teams averaged 136.2 pitches per game. In 2009, it was 147.4, an increase of 8% over the 21-year period.

I generated this data by multiplying two numbers together--the average pitches per plate appearance and the average number of plate appearances per game. (The links are to the B-R pages where those data can be found.)

The average pitchers per PA has gradually increased since 1988. (I showed some of the data in this post and will show the rest of it next week.) In 1988 it was 3.59 pitches/PA and in 2009 it was 3.83 pitches/PA. That's a 6.7% increase itself.
   37. bobm Posted: March 30, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5827022)
From 1998 to 2018, (requiring Pitches<=147), sorted by greatest Performances matching selected criteria in a Season

                                                      
Rk   Year #Matching    W-L              L W-L%  ERA  CG
1    2018      2574 1445 1129 Ind. Games .561 3.07  42
                                                      
2    2017      2547 1434 1113 Ind. Games .563 3.26  59
3    2016      2650 1512 1136 Ind. Games .571 3.16  83
                                                      
4    2015      2894 1640 1254 Ind. Games .567 3.05 104
                                                      
5    2014      2898 1614 1284 Ind. Games .557 2.95 118
                                                      
                                                      
6    2013      2793 1577 1216 Ind. Games .565 2.94 123
7    2012      2853 1589 1264 Ind. Games .557 3.11 128
                                                      
                                                      
8    2011      2780 1536 1244 Ind. Games .553 3.06 173
                                                      
9    2010      2773 1533 1240 Ind. Games .553 3.15 165
                                                      
10   2009      2633 1506 1127 Ind. Games .572 3.27 152
11   2008      2707 1547 1160 Ind. Games .571 3.28 136
                                                      
12   2007      2734 1545 1189 Ind. Games .565 3.41 112
                                                      
13   2006      2751 1551 1200 Ind. Games .564 3.42 144
                                                      
14   2005      2986 1670 1314 Ind. Games .560 3.37 189
                                                      
15   2004      2753 1562 1191 Ind. Games .567 3.41 150
16   2003      2902 1622 1278 Ind. Games .559 3.45 209
                                                      
17   2002      2965 1631 1333 Ind. Games .550 3.38 213
                                                      
                                                      
18   2001      2940 1647 1293 Ind. Games .560 3.48 199
                                                      
19   2000      2623 1496 1125 Ind. Games .571 3.55 233
20   1999      2712 1550 1160 Ind. Games .572 3.54 237
                                                      
21   1998      2982 1672 1306 Ind. Games .561 3.46 299
                                                      
                                                      


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/30/2019.
   38. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: March 30, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5827028)
Imagine throwing 120 pitches over 3 hours, and then the same number of pitches/same effectiveness but over an hour and a half? Which would be more tiring? A lot of people myself included, just lose their attention span after 2 or 2.5 hrs..

Jim Kaat always used to say that after 2 hours, his arm turned into a pumpkin. Probably not every pitcher is the same in this regard, but I would assume slower games contributes to pitchers unable to go as long.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 30, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5827030)
Why do even care about baseball any more? There's apparently nothing in the game that you like.

I still love fantasy baseball and simulation baseball. I still like following the game online.

The crappy aesthetics on the field don't seep through into the game stories, box scores, or stats.
   40. Sweatpants Posted: March 30, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5827041)
Most pitches in a game in 2018:

134 Sean Newcomb 2018-07-29 ATL v LAD W 4-1
127 Trevor Bauer 2018-05-27 CLE v HOU W 10-9
127 Tyson Ross 2018-04-20 SDP v ARI W 4-1
Newcomb and Ross were both making runs at no-hitters. Newcomb lost his with two outs (and two strikes) in the ninth, at which point he got pulled. Ross's lasted until the eighth, and he got taken out immediately too, although in his case the first hit he allowed tied the game.
   41. The Honorable Ardo Posted: March 30, 2019 at 10:52 PM (#5827139)
Joe Maddon loves to go batter-by-batter. In one of his most memorable games, he used five pitchers for six batters.
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 31, 2019 at 12:50 AM (#5827158)
I have mentioned before that I covered a high school baseball game in the mid-1980s that ended 1-0 in 14 innings, with one of the pitchers going the distance and throwing 216 pitches.
Who was keeping track of pitch counts in a high school game in the mid-1980s?

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