Farrell took Price out in the bottom of the 9th and the Angels beat the Red Sox in Anaheim.
I like Farrell, Price, and the Red Sox. I have no bones to pick there. I also have no set demand that pitchers always throw more than 100 pitches — Price had thrown 109 through eight.
My thesis is simple: the pitcher in the game should be the one who can get the other team out.
If that’s someone you leave in there, put in there, or swap in and out five times in an inning …
In fact, apropos of the 100 pitch count … I’d support a starting pitcher throwing three innings or 50 pitches (or 72 or 19 or … ). The whole point — your one job — is to get batters out. That’s it.
But managers are technicians. All of baseball is about techné. It’s stomach-churning to watch. It’s ugly. It’s endemic. It’s Tab-A-Into-Slot-B work and no wonder sports talk is so stoopid.
The way they play the game today it could all be done by a bunch of pimply 12-year-olds in a room wallpapered with Radiohead posters.
Try these ideas —
- Everything currently done in pitching — pitch count, starter, set-up man, closer — because “that’s the way it’s done” was at one time not done. Hell, in baseball overall.
- The 100 pitch count is totally arbitrary, a function of our fascination with round numbers and a vague idea of pitches per inning, times about 6 or 7 of those frames.
- The pitch count stays at 100 in both leagues — even though National League pitchers also hit. If we’re worried about their constitutions, shouldn’t they only throw … 75?
- If a pitcher throws 110 or (heaven help us!) 120 pitches all the old ladies in the broadcaster booth bust open their well-worn manuals and start squawking about fatigue.
- If a pitcher gets hammered one game and only throws 50 pitches, nobody says, “Oh, well; he can do 150 on his next start, then.”
- Also arbitrary: “set-up” guys and “closers” do far fewer than 100? Why? They throw harder? Not all of them. But so what? Talking heads start squealing like pigs at 20 pitches anyway.
- A six-man rotation. Instead of five starts a month, pitchers take four. Voilá! Now each can throw 125 per start … right?
- Mix it up. Have them throw 50 one game, 75 another, 100 another. Why not? They stay in to get batters out, they “confuse” their muscles, they push, they rest … whatever works.
- Pay pitchers per pitch. If the problem is length of season or career pay a base salary + per pitch. Pay per pitch over a certain per-game average or season total.
- The difference between what I’m saying and what occurs is as few as a five to 15 pitches — about 10% of a night’s total. That’s going to kill the guy’s next start?
- Everyone can go (up to) one more inning which would solve the “problem” of the six-man rotation (e.g., the cost). This does not mean they must go an extra inning; it says they can.
- The reason this isn’t going to happen — until of course it does and everyone freaks out … and then it begins to work … and is widely adopted — is “that’s the way it’s done.”
Not “that’s the way we do it,” mind you — because that would require human agency and a little imagination.
But of course that’s what they have — a very, very, very little imagination.