For pain and suffering, and for lost wages. Yes, bashing Dusty Baker has become something of a habit and a fetish for me... but I'm going to do it again and I'm not sorry.
Mark Prior made 30 starts in 2003, his first full year as a pro.
In those 30 starts, he went over 100 pitches 26 times.
He went over 110 pitches 19 times.
He went over 120 pitches 8 times.
And he went over 130 pitches 3 times.
And that's just in the regular season. Did I mention that he was 22? Did I mention that he's going for another surgery and one of the most promising careers of the last 20 years is basically over?
Did I also mention that in 2005, after Prior spent 2004 banged up and hurt... Baker allowed him to throw 115+ pitches 9 times with a high of 131?
How about the fact that in 2003, already injury-proned Kerry Wood broke 120 pitches in 13 starts and finished the season with 6 straight starts of 114 or more?
Would you believe me if I told you that Wood's highest pitch count in 2003 was 141?
Now Baker's in Cincinnati.
Already, Johnny Cueto (22 years old) has gone 108, 114 and 119 this year.
Edinson Volquez (24) went 112, 118, 110 and 111.
And Homer Bailey's coming up for his first start.
Here's some info on how a couple of other teams handle their prized, young pitchers.
High Pitch Counts for Phil Hughes (Yankees): 106, 102, 99
High Pitch Counts for Clay Buchholz (Red Sox): 115 (no hitter), 113, 103, 98
Point here is... find me another team, ANY TEAM, ANY MANAGER, that consistently abuses his pitchers the way Dusty Baker does... I beg you to. I implore you from the depths of my soul.
I think Mark Prior should press charges against Dusty Baker. I think Dusty Baker should be brought up on Murder charges... for killing Prior's career.