Understanding Pitcher Fatigue
As a former baseball player, there are a lot of things about the game that I understand thanks to my time playing the game that I wouldn't have knowledge of had I not played. However, one thing that I do not understand is pitcher fatigue. Let me explain.
I never pitched until 13 year olds, when our team was down to our last pitcher in the regional championship game. I was messing around before the game, and throwing some submarine pitches. My coach saw me, I ended up pitching the last 4 innings of the game, and the rest was history. I pitched that way throughout my high school career, and probably majorly screwed up my arm in the process. This is why I think my perspective on pitcher fatigue is not accurate. After an inning or two of pitching, my arm would hurt pretty much all over. I could never really pitch more than 4 innings in a game.
That is why, for the life of me, I can not understand how professional pitchers can throw the ball 95+ MPH on their 120th pitch of a ballgame. I understand that they obviously condition their arms to handle that type of stress, but it is still just amazing to me. How Roy Halladay can pitch in the All-Star game on 2 days rest is also mind-boggling.
This leads me to my ultimate question. When a pitcher comes out of a game due to "fatigue", is it overall body fatigue that forces them out of a game, or is it that they finally get to the point where their arm starts to hurt? After pitching, my arm would be sore for at least 2 or 3 days after that outing. Do major league pitchers not experience the same soreness?
I remember attending a Reds game back in '07 or '08 and sitting right by the Reds bullpen on a day when Volquez was starting. I was blown away by how many warm-up pitches Volquez threw before a start. My arm would have been ready to fall off after pumping 90+ MPH pitches, and this was just warmups! This lead me to wonder how many times a pitcher actually throws the ball on days that he starts. I would guess between pre-game warmups, long toss, pre-inning warm ups, and actual pitches, it's gotta be over 200 times. I realize that game pitches and warm-up pitches require different amounts of effort and energy, but do fans/players/managers vastly overrate the magic pitch count "rules"? If Mike Leake throws 130 pitches, is his arm going to be more sore the next day? Or is it body fatigue? Like I said, I have no perspective on this, because I'm pretty sure my arm is torn to shreds.
I've introduced a ton of questions in this thread. Any insight that any of you have on any of them would be appreciated.