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Saw this on ESPN.com this morning. Crazy. Marichal threw 227 pitches, going 16 innings, and Spahn threw 201 pitches, the last being a walk off homer by Willie Mays with 1 out in the 16th.
So, with the beauty out there, what's your take on the whole pitch count thing? Are pitchers too soft these days? Or do you feel that MLB managers currently have it correct?
Raise the mound back UP to pre1969 standards & pitch count won't be a factor.
Has nothing to do with today's pitchers being "soft". In any endeavor, athletes today are stronger, faster, higher than they were in the good old days.
There's many factors here...not the least of which is the fact that the game you highlighted is an outlier. Even when guys routinely pitched complete games, they weren't throwing 150+ pitches night in and night out.
- Quality of opposing hitters. There aren't many Mark Bellangers and Larry Bowas playing today. Forty years ago, every team had a few free outs where you just pitched to contact and let your own Bowa or Bellanger do the glovework. Throw in the DH and the fact that in the NL, the pitcher is removed earlier, that's lots more pitches needed and more stressful pitches needed to get through a lineup.
- Strike Zone/Mound/Body Armor/Bandbox Stadiums - What takes more pitches? Today's game or 27 outs in caverous Shibe Park off a 16" mound to a dude with no helmet, no elbow armor and a strike zone that is three feet tall?
- Injury Prevention and Awareness - For every Ryan and Seaver out there who thrived despite what would be considered "abuse" today, there are many more McLains, Hunters and Koufaxes who were blown out of baseball too early due to the way they were used.
Maybe they were coked out and felt no pain?
I used to pitch. and i can tell you that reading the above was shocking. how they didnt sheerly blow there arms out is insane unless at the end they were basically just tossing it in there at 50mph. The overhanded motion is unatural and causes extra strain on all muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.
That being said, though the evolution of the pitcher has a lot to do with why pitchers throw less, and why pitch counts are needed. (BITD i'm talking way old school)most pitchers were primarily fast ball pitchers and location was all that mattered. That mainly requires a good amount of shoulder (a larger muscle) along with arm, and full body torque. With the evolution of the slider, curve, sinker, slurve, knuckler, etc pitchers actually rely more on their elbows, forearms, grip, and snap of the wrist to create the type of rotation needed to sustain a pitch. These are much smaller and typically weaker areas of the arm. This is why its really important to start pitchers out slow, and why i'm a very big proponent of Nolan's semi/new "old school" philosophy of having your pitchers work the pen, then steadily move into the rotation. It helps sustain pitchers longer...
thats my 2 cents
pitch count is important but shouldn't be THE factor- in fact, any time an announcer says "well, _____ is at 100 pitches now" I just roll my eyes at Captain Obvious. This is assuming we're talking only about MLB types and not A ball, or High School kids or more especially little leaguers where pitch counts should be strictly enforced. The evolution of pitch types as my aggie friend has already commented makes not overworking a real priority, becomming more impoartant as you move down through the Minors and into amature ball.
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