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06-25-2008, 01:07 PM
http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/mil/y2008/m06/d24/c2993951.jsp

Brewers to try out pitching experiment
06/24/2008 8:35 PM ETBy Adam McCalvy / MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Brewers ace Ben Sheets believes the extinction of the Major League complete game can be traced to the Minors, where strict pitch counts protect prospects from injuries but also severely limit their opportunities to pitch into the ninth inning. "I agree, but it's a double-edged sword," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "Because to get the complete games you have to get to the 125-140 pitch count, and everybody that you talk to -- medical people, pitching coaches -- say that there is a limit on pitches."

The Brewers will try something new at one affiliate to find the middle ground. Beginning this week at Class A Brevard County, relievers will start games before turning it over to the "starters" in the third or the fourth.

By starting the starter later in games, the Brewers hope their young players develop a "nine-inning mindset" by the time they reach the Majors.
The idea of using relievers in the early innings has been pushed for some time by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, and was also endorsed several years ago when the Brewers gathered their organizational pitching coaches and medical people for a symposium.

After that meeting, the team put various guidelines in place to protect the health of their young arms. Pitchers generally are not allowed to throw more than 30 innings beyond their total from the previous season, and specific game-to-game limits are tailored to each individual.

Brevard County right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, for example, is allotted 205 pitches per two outings. He started Game 1 of a doubleheader on Tuesday and pitched a seven-inning shutout, holding Dunedin to three hits in the first complete game of his career.

Because Minor League doubleheaders consist of two, seven-inning games, starters Jeffress and Zach Braddock started for Brevard County on Tuesday. A reliever was scheduled to start beginning Tuesday, Ash said.

Ash said the Brewers are considering installing a six-man starting rotation next month at Double-A Huntsville to increase the rest time between starts in July and August, especially for those pitchers tabbed for the Arizona Fall League.

"You would like to lighten the load some, and common sense dictates you do that in July and August," Ash said.

Maybe the changes will help develop the next Sheets. He leads the National League with three complete games after going the distance to beat the Braves on Monday night.

Sheets has thrown 16 complete games in his career and said he steps onto the mound every time out expecting to pitch all nine innings. He knows not every pitch has the same outlook.

"I'm not saying anything new, everybody knows the reason -- you're not brought up that way," Sheets said. "In the Minors, pitch count is such a big thing. For the complete game, you have to trust enough to get your pitch count up somewhere around 115, 120.

"I think some people leave some of their better innings on the bench. Some guys are in really good grooves through seven, and get taken out when they could probably get through two more fairly easily. It no fault of anybody's; it's just baseball."

gonelong
06-25-2008, 01:43 PM
Interesting, but I wonder how the kids might react to entering a game down 7-0 in the third inning.

GL

UKFlounder
06-25-2008, 02:01 PM
If you start the beginning of a game and go through 6, that's six innings pitched.

If you sart in inning 4 and go through the 9th, that's still just 6 innings pitched.

It might be a "ninth inning" mindset, but it's still only a "six inning" mindeset as well.

Does it matter which 6 innings (or 7 or however many) they pitch? Pitching 4 through 9 isn't a complete game either.

I guess I just don't understand exactly what difference this would make.

dougdirt
06-25-2008, 02:05 PM
If you start the beginning of a game and go through 6, that's six innings pitched.

If you sart in inning 4 and go through the 9th, that's still just 6 innings pitched.

It might be a "ninth inning" mindset, but it's still only a "six inning" mindeset as well.

Does it matter which 6 innings (or 7 or however many) they pitch? Pitching 4 through 9 isn't a complete game either.

I guess I just don't understand exactly what difference this would make.

Learning a late game mentality is something I bet they would argue.

15fan
06-25-2008, 05:02 PM
Complete Game pitchers are such a rare (and thus-- expensive) breed these days.

I maintain that a 12 man bullpen is the way to go in this era.

(Especially if you are the Reds, who have drafted and developed exactly 2 good starting pitchers in my lifetime - Mario Soto and Tom Browning.)

If you're fortunate enough to have one or two very good starters, then run them out there every 5th day.

The rest of the time, play matchup baseball.

UKFlounder
06-25-2008, 05:56 PM
Learning a late game mentality is something I bet they would argue.

Perhaps, and if they're in a DH league where pinch-hitting for the pitcher late in a close game is not an option, that might be a benefit.

(But would the opposite effect happen - i.e. relievers getting away from teh late game situation mentality. I guess they would not use closers or top setup men in that role, but if you plan to let your starter finish the 8th & 9th what do you do with those? Starters are generally more valuable than relievers, so maybe this would be no big deal.)

Matt700wlw
06-25-2008, 05:59 PM
They they're not starting pitchers ;)

Lockdwn11
06-25-2008, 06:05 PM
But if they start in the 3rd or 4th inning they have NO chance to see what it's like to go 9 inning or what it really feels like arm/mind wise to pitch the 9th.

fearofpopvol1
06-25-2008, 06:30 PM
I think it makes total sense. Especially if they get to start with a 0 when they pitch. Pitching late into the game when it matters is part of the whole "mental toughness" thing. I think it's good to be exposed to that.

camisadelgolf
06-26-2008, 08:28 AM
Okay, I've got a ridiculous thought, but I want to know what you all would think about this.

In MLB, what if you have a right-handed reliever as your starter? Would the other team stack the lineup with left-handed hitters? If so, you could replace the reliever after an inning or two with a left-handed starting pitcher. If it bothers the opposing manager that his lineup is stacked with left-handed hitters against a left-handed pitcher, he might be attempted to use a lot of his bench early in the game, which could be beneficial later in the game, especially if it went into extra innings.

UKFlounder
06-26-2008, 12:41 PM
But is 9th inning mental toughness with a 6th inning physical feel (fatigue, etc.) that productive? Pitching in the 9th with the fatigue of the 6th is not the same as pitching in the 9th with the fatigue of 8 previous innings, perhaps.


I think it makes total sense. Especially if they get to start with a 0 when they pitch. Pitching late into the game when it matters is part of the whole "mental toughness" thing. I think it's good to be exposed to that.

JaxRed
06-26-2008, 12:58 PM
Isn't O'Brien with the Brewers now?

OnBaseMachine
06-26-2008, 01:04 PM
Isn't O'Brien with the Brewers now?

Yep. I wonder if this was his idea?

redsmetz
06-26-2008, 01:07 PM
Isn't O'Brien with the Brewers now?

I was just going to write that this sounded like one of O'Brien's ideas, but then I got a phone call and you beat me to it.

medford
06-26-2008, 02:28 PM
Isn't O'Brien with the Brewers now?

exactly my thought.

dougdirt
06-26-2008, 02:38 PM
Guy, I don't think Dano has anything to do with this. the Brewers GM said in the article its something they have been talking about for a while now.