Supporting My View


Pitch counts and innings limits are stupid.  I have written as much here before.  They are key components in the increase in arm issues, I think, and will also be part and parcel on why the Washington Nationals will not make the playoffs in 2011 (because of their idiotic limit of Stephen Strasburg’s innings to about 150 this year).

Cliff Lee and Matt Cain helped prove my point last night.  They put on a show that I would have loved to see in person.  The Giants beat the Phillies 1-0 in 11 innings.  Cain and Lee combined to throw 19 scoreless innings between them (10 for Lee, 9 for Cain).

Using the innings limit stance, both would have taken a large chunck of their allotment in one night.  Good thing for them their respective teams are not going to shut them down at some predetermined number.

The kicker of their performances is that in their combined 19 innings, they threw 193 pitches.  Lee threw 102, Cain threw 91.  They were effective and efficient.  They made it through 9 innings in 1 hour, 50 minutes, or about the time it takes for the Red Sox and Yankees to complete 3 innings (on a good night).  And I would argue that, in a game that close, a lot of those pitches would qualify as “high stress” pitches, which in theory put more strain on an arm.

Make no mistake about it, Lee and Cain are true “aces.”  They would lead almost any staff in baseball (Cain, it could be argued, is the ace of the Giants while Lee follows Roy Halladay and precedes Cole Hamels).  And they did not achieve those levels by being kept to a pitch count or innings limit.  As recently as a few years ago, Lee spent time in the minors in the Cleveland organization.

Young pitchers will not have prolonged success if they are not allowed to throw.  That is what pitchers do.  And by shutting down Strasburg at 150 innings, the Nationals are effectively stunting his development.


One Response to Supporting My View

  1. Pingback: Pathetic « Our Not So Expert Opinions

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