This is what I
hate about today's baseball. Tonight, September 4, 2012, the Dodgers
are fighting for a spot in the playoffs. They have their best
pitcher, last year's National League Cy Young Award Winner Clayton
Kershaw, on the mound against San Diego. In a tight 1-1 game, the Dodgers score two runs in the 7th inning, taking a 3-1
lead in a must win game.
Despite the fact that Kershaw
has been indomitable since allowing a leadoff home run on his first
pitch of the game, striking out 9, walking only 3 and allowing only
four more hits in seven innings, apparently
because Kershaw has thrown 116 pitches, Dodger manager Don Mattingly
(who played first base when he was a player and knows as much about
pitching as I know about knitting) pulls Kershaw and puts in a guy
named Matt Guerrier, who hasn't pitched since April 18. Guerrier
promptly allows two runs (on a two run home run), walks the next
man, and the game is tied up. Mattingly pulls Guerrier, effectively
locking the barn door after losing his prize horse. That's a good
manager for you. There is justice in the world, however, because the
Dodgers lost the game 6-3 in 11 innings, a game the would have
undoubtedly won 3-1 had Kershaw remained in the game.
In the old
days when I loved the game, pitchers pitched complete games.
Baseball guru Branch Rickey, who developed baseball's farm system in
the 1930s with the St. Louis Cardinals, spoke the sentence that
should define how the game is managed. "Pitching," said Rickey, "is
80% of the game." It would have been unthinkable to pull Warren
Spahn or Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson or Lefty Grove or Bob Feller or
any pitcher of the era before around 1970 in a game like this. In
fact, had anyone tried to pull Gibson from a game like this, he
would have had his head torn off in front of 50,000 fans.
Boras uses the argument that pitching more than 100 pitches a game
shortens a pitcher's life.
that's true, how could people like Christy Mathewson (435 Complete
Games out of 552 starts, 78% in 16 years) and Grover Cleveland
Alexander (437/559, 78% in 20 years) and Lefty Grove (298/457, 65%
in 17 years) and Bob Feller (279/484, 58% in 18 years, but he missed
what would have been his four prime years because of WWII: Feller
enlisted in the Navy 2 days after Pearl Harbor) and, well I could go
on and on and on, pitch complete game after complete game and still
last 15-20 years in the big leagues? Have pitchers, alone among
athletes, become wusses?
is that this ridiculous handling of pitchers has gone on for so long
that nobody questions it. There is nary a mention of it in the
media. So it continues.
is incontestably true, but the dopes who manage today just don't
recognize that. They all fall prey to the group think that nobody
can pitch longer than seven innings or throw much more than 100
pitches today. It is absurd and it's why I find it almost
impossible to watch baseball today. I don't care who is in the
bullpen, you don't pull a starting pitcher who is in total control
of a game for a relief pitcher who isn't close to the quality of
your starting pitcher. It's idiotic and anyone who does it is, by
definition, an idiot. Since there are 30 major league teams and they
all have one manager, there are at least 30 idiots in the United