With the first month of the 2021 season nearing expiration, teams should begin to more closely monitor the workload of their pitchers, who this year face a considerable increase in shooting as they return to a 162-game schedule after playing. the shortest program in 150 years.
With one departure pending for the month each, Shane Bieber (534), Gerrit Cole (512) and Trevor Bauer (506) are the only pitchers with more than 500 pitches made this season in the majors, but 10 other shooters, including Tyler Glasnow (# 6 with 475), exceed 450.
Lance Lynn (1,408), Bieber (1,238), Germán Márquez (1,226), Lucas Giolito (1,214), Max Scherzer (1,213), Brandon Woodruff (1,211), Cole (1,203) and Aaron Civale (1,201) were the leaders of the season cut to 60 games last year, four less than the National League’s first season team schedule in 1876.
Assuming no injuries occur, we would only have to multiply last year’s total by three or April’s amount by six and we would get the approximate number for the season.
Resolved? Not necessarily.
“With pitchers, things don’t come down to mathematical multiplication. It’s more complicated than that,” said Alex Cora, manager of the Boston Red Sox.
“You have to be very careful, especially when we are going to change such different schedules. On the other hand, there are many pitchers, including our own Eduardo Rodríguez, who did not throw a ball due to the pandemic last year. It is a situation similar to when a pitcher returns from an operation, “he added.
Intelligently control the increase in the workload of the pitchers in a normal season of 162 games – after the coronavirus pandemic caused a campaign cut to a third of normal to be played – at the same time that it seeks to conquer a position in the postseason, it is one of the great challenges that the teams have this year.
Of course, there is no single system to try to achieve the same results. The plan can vary from team to team and pitcher to pitcher and even a plan can vary from month to month within the season.
In 2019, the last time a 162-game schedule was played, 29 pitchers threw more than 3,000 pitches. Bauer (3,687) was the only one with more than 3,600, while Lynn (3,553) was the other of 3,500 and Rodríguez (3,495) was very close. Justin Verlander (223.0), Bieber (214.1), Bauer (213.0) and Cole (212.1) led innings, while 11 others went past 200 innings.
However, 2020 was the first season of all time that no pitcher exceeded 200 episodes. In fact, no one reached 100, with Lynn (84.0), Marquez (81.2) and Kyle Hendricks (81.1) being the only ones with more than 80.
So far, Bieber commands the ticketing department with 36.1. Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd is second with 34.2, after working 60.1 in 12 starts last year.
How to manage the jump to normal will be the key. Some teams would prefer to cut back on appearances, others would use extended rotations from time to time to take a couple of starts from their regular starters, and teams that are not in competition in the final months will most likely end some of their missions. pitchers long before the schedule ends.
Handling young pitchers who haven’t had heavy workloads in their careers is more complex than with older pitchers.
“We must be very careful with them, and not only from the strict point of view of the inputs. We must pay attention to the stress they suffer and, in a way, we can measure and value it with due diligence,” said Kim Ng of the Miami Marlins, the first woman with the position of general manager in the Major Leagues.
For competing teams, especially those lacking the great depth of champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a staff that includes three Cy Young Award winners and at least six genuine match-opening options, things are still there. more difficult.
To give an example, Dominicans Domingo Germán and Deivi García battled during spring training for fifth place in the starting rotation. Germán won the battle and García was sent to the alternate training ground before opening day. After two inconsistent starts, Germán was also sent to practice camp.
Kopech strikes out ten Rangers in five innings
White Sox starter Michael Kopech had 10 strikeouts, the most of his career, in a win against the Rangers.
However, Germán and García were promoted on the same weekend to open the first consecutive series games against the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles, respectively. With an integrated rotation, after Cole, of injury history pitchers, many different men having at least one outing in the year makes sense.
“Regardless of how we build the rotation and the entire pitching staff, Garcia will have a role on this team throughout the season,” manager Aaron Boone said when the youngster was first removed from the roster.
And that will probably be the trend in most teams: Many pitchers to divide the more than 1,500 innings that each team must throw in the regular series, which undermines the record of pitchers used by a club in a season, set by the Seattle Mariners with 42 in 2019.