Friday, August 29, 2008

Cincy Reds vs. Tampa Rays...Just Out of Curiosity.

Busting Dusty Baker's balls is a hobby of mine, and a bit of a passion. And one of the greatest ways of going about that, is by referencing pitch counts, specifically with young pitchers.

Baker's in Cincy with Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto... and when I checked earlier this year, he was running up their pitch counts much the way he did with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in Chicago.

For a point of comparison, I'm going to use the Tampa Bay Rays. Why? Because by my own perception, they seem to be relatively well-managed, and frankly, they don't get enough press.

I'm literally researching this as I write the article, so your guess is as good as mine regarding what this will show, if anything.

Cincy Reds

Edinson Volquez: 26 Starts, 157 2/3 IP, 15-5 W/L, 2.80 ERA, 1.313 WHIP
100+ pitches - 17 times.
110+ pitches - 9 times.
Season High - 118 on May 7th

Johnny Cueto: 27 Starts, 155 IP, 8-12 W/L, 4.65 ERA, 1.361 WHIP
100+ pitches - 12 times.
110+ pitches - 7 times.
Season High(s) - 120 on July 22nd, 119 on May 27th

Tampa Bay Rays

Scott Kazmir: 21 Starts, 121 IP, 9-6 W/L, 3.27 ERA, 1.231 WHIP
100+ pitches - 13 times.
110+ pitches - 5 times. Season High - 117 on June 11th.

Andy Sonnanstine: 26 Starts, 158 2/3 IP, 13-6 W/L, 4.42 ERA, 1.317 WHIP
100+ pitches - 7 times.
110+ pitches - 0 times.
Season High - 106 on April 19th.

James Shields: 27 Starts, 177 2/3 IP, 11-8 W/L, 3.75 ERA, 1.171 WHIP
100+ pitches - 14 times.
110+ pitches - 1 time.
Season High - 111 on August 3rd.

I could keep going with Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza, but I won't, so here are my findings.

What we can see is that Shields, Sonnanstine and Jackson (trust me here) have been held very tightly to pitch counts, very rarely getting very far over 100. Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir have been given slightly longer leashes, which means that despite their ages, and Kazmir's history of injury, there must be some trust and communication going on here.

On the other side, we have the Reds, with Dusty at the helm. He's got the future of that franchise routinely going over 100 pitches, and often pushing well into the 110-120 range. Both pitchers are in the process of setting career highs for innings pitched by what must be a pretty massive increase, and it appears that Dusty's taking very few precautions... despite the fact that his team is completely and utterly out of contention.

Oddly enough, the Rays appear to be taking every precaution, despite the fact that they're in first place, and have been battling the Red Sox for most of the season.

So yeah, props to Joe Maddon (didn't he just have a kid with Nicole Ritchie? Shit, now I'm confused) for proving that it is possible to win, and protect the future of your ball club by not destroying the arms of pitchers in their early 20's. Props to Andrew Friedman for the great job he's done assembling the team, and no-doubt, playing a role in this.

And to Reds fans, feel free to flame this post, but don't blame me when Volquez and Cueto are taking the plane trip down to Birmingham, AL to see Dr. James Andrews.

Maybe Johnny and Edinson will get smart and file restraining orders against Dusty while there's still time.

No comments:

Post a Comment