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Questioning the “Almighty” Pitch Count

Posted on October 17, 2009 by Richard Marsh
Pitch counts are right up Count Dracula's alley, but how good are they for major league pitchers?

Pitch counts are right up Count Dracula's alley, but how good are they for major league pitchers?

I have never been one to second guess. It’s so easy after the fact to say he should have done this or he should have done that. If you raise the concern before it happens, then you have some validity in making a point.

I am what many would consider an “old timer” when it comes to watching baseball. It’s been over a half a century and plenty of games have happened where it’s very easy to say why did you do this when speaking of a manager’s move.

I am not a “traditionalist.” I like the modern game. I love Interleague Play, even if it’s the Seattle Mariners against the Colorado Rockies. I’m not crazy about the Designated Hitter, but I do wish for consistency for both leagues.

I’m very much against the All-Star Game determining who gets home field in the World Series, simply because that game is nothing more than an exhibition game. I’m all for instant replay, as long as it doesn’t slow each game to four hours.

What really ticks me off is the pitch count. Here is definitely where I love the games of the ’50s and ’60s. Complete games, six out saves, old fashioned 300 inning seasons with 40 starts and 300 strikeouts. That’s what I miss and what brings me to the point of this article.

Yesterday, Pedro Martinez the veteran great that he was and is was on a pitch count. For whatever reason, Charlie Manuel, whom I like as a manager generally, decided that Pedro would only go 75-95 pitchers whether that got him into the fifth or the eighth inning. The reason for this, very vague. He hadn’t pitched a regular game in three weeks.

In early September, all the master did was throw 130 pitches and completely shut down his former team the Mets.

At the end of seven innings, Pedro had given up zero runs with zero walks a couple of K’s and 87 pitches. So, out he comes and the vaunted Phillies bullpen which has been as inconsistent as our economy used five relief pitchers in the eighth inning and after a bases loaded walk. There went Game Two to the Dodgers.

After taking out Pedro Martinez due to his pitch count, Charlie Manuel used five pitchers and lost the lead in the 8th inning against the Dodgers.

After taking out Pedro Martinez due to his pitch count, Charlie Manuel used five pitchers and lost the lead in the 8th inning against the Dodgers.

I ask a simple question. Why not let Pedro at least start the eighth? If he gets into trouble, pull him then and give your bullpen a shot at redemption. But no, the almighty pitch count was in effect and that was that.

They say baseball is a game of inches. Now it’s become a game of pitches. For what it’s worth, I was screaming at the TV before the eighth inning when it was announced that Pedro’s day was done.

Right now it seems the only person on board to bring back the old days where pitchers earned their salaries is Nolan Ryan. He has instructed his coaches and managers throughout the Texas Rangers organization to stretch these pitchers out.

I wish him luck. He will definitely need it. So will the Phillies if Game Two comes back to haunt them. We will see.

Richard Marsh is the author of “The Blog” From Vegas Rich and is also a featured contributor on Bleacher Report.


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