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Thread: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

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    Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Leo Mazzone is unemployed. Rick Peterson may be soon according to NY papers.


    Mazzone was on NY sports radio Sunday morning. It was interesting in that he was talking about how much he hates pitch counts as an indicator of pitching effectiveness. Some points that he made:

    - The Orioles posted pitch counts on their scoreboard, and he said some of the pitchers would check and be very aware of their pitch counts, which affected how they pitched.

    - When he was with Atlanta (before pitchcounts became vital statistics that were used in broadcasts, etc.) he said that he kept pitch counts on a clicker. But if a guy looked really strong, he'd 'cheat' and either take away clicks or not count every pitch.

    - He said that Smoltz would always have an additonal 20-30 pitches in him. Maddux, on the other hand, always new his pitch count and stuck to it.

    - He said that pitchers get hurt when their mechanics break down or when they are 'laboring' and that it has less to do with pitchcounts and more to do with observation.

    - The interview noted that Rick Peterson is a firm believer in pitch counts. Leo said that Rick is an excellent pitching coach and wouldn't say anything negative. However, he reaffirmed that in his mind pitch counts were overrated.
    "The players make the manager, it's never the other way." - Sparky Anderson

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    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    I'd take either one of them over Dick Pole.

    I like hearing Mazzone talk on the broadcast a couple weeks ago in relation to baseball knowledge and intellect....his announcing not so much.

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    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by NJReds View Post
    - He said that pitchers get hurt when their mechanics break down or when they are 'laboring' and that it has less to do with pitchcounts and more to do with observation.
    This is the absolute truth. Of course you need to be conditioned to throw X amount of pitches. The mechanics and break down of the arm action is what causes inflammation, tearing, fraying, etc...

    - The interview noted that Rick Peterson is a firm believer in pitch counts. Leo said that Rick is an excellent pitching coach and wouldn't say anything negative. However, he reaffirmed that in his mind pitch counts were overrated.
    I had to chuckle a little. Kind of like "I'm not saying you're wrong... I just don't agree".
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph View Post
    I'd take either one of them over Dick Pole.

    I like hearing Mazzone talk on the broadcast a couple weeks ago in relation to baseball knowledge and intellect....his announcing not so much.
    I missed his announcing debut.

    He was engaging when talking about pitching, though. A great interview.
    "The players make the manager, it's never the other way." - Sparky Anderson

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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    On XM Mazzone was practically begging for a job. He had some interesting things to say about the tensions in Baltimore, too.

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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by NJReds View Post
    - He said that pitchers get hurt when their mechanics break down or when they are 'laboring' and that it has less to do with pitchcounts and more to do with observation.
    I pretty much agree with this. My thing is ... there aren't many guys that I would trust to be able to observe accurately when a guy begins to reach his territory of laboring. I'd trust a guy like Mazzone to run a pitching staff and to know when he each of his pitchers needs to be taken out, even if he wasn't adhering strictly to pitch counts. I'd most definitely trust a guy like Mazzone over anybody the Reds have or had, including Pole, Baker, and Narron. The Reds don't have anybody on their staff who has anywhere near that amount of trust, and thus the pitch counts become a type of "safety valve" for the incompetence of the staff.

    One thing is clear: I certainly don't trust Dusty Baker, of all people, in knowing when a guy is beginning to labor and needs to be lifted. I sure as heck didn't trust Jerry Narron either.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    I agree with the maintaining mechanics definition. 100 is by and large a good shortcut, but hardly a fixed number. I think pitch counts can also work against some pitchers when used by managers with less than keen observational ability. Take Arroyo the other night, for example. He was gassed after 86 pitches. Would Dusty have pulled him if he hadn't spoken up? 100 is really an arbitrary number and I'm inclined to believe that pitchers may have natural limits anywhere from 40 to 130 in terms of maintaining proper mechanics while throwing their repertoire. I can't help but wonder if there aren't guys in the Affeldt mold who can be effective for 50-60 pitches at a time, but due to the construction of staffs today are forced largely in to 100 pitches or 25, with little in between. Pair a guy who can give you 80-90 pitches with one who can give you 50-60 and you can get through 8 or 9 innings without having a horse starter or cycling through a bunch of relievers.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 06-16-2008 at 03:37 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Smoltz - 41
    Maddux - 42
    Glavine - 42

    Could be some truth to this style of coaching. All pitched into their 40's and only Smoltz has had any major physical breakdowns and he pitched extra at times. Or they could have just been lucky I suppose, but somehow I think it's more than luck.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    What's Dusty's history with fireing coaches? is he the type to refuse to let the GM do it or does he agree when changes need to made?
    Go Gators!

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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed View Post
    What's Dusty's history with fireing coaches? is he the type to refuse to let the GM do it or does he agree when changes need to made?
    Dusty strikes me as a loyal guy. I doubt he ever fires people unless mandated to do so. Pole was a coach of his in Chicago. I doubt Dicky is going anywhere.

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Mazzone's method was the way it was done for more than a century. Pitch counts are tools. I like RMR's definition - they are a shortcut. Some guys can throw insane amounts of pitches if they're used to it. Feller threw a 160 plus pitches in a game and went out then threw a complete game with three days rest. At 18. Some guys just have the anatomical structure to do it year after year. They came out when it was obvious to the coach(or catcher) they were gassed or laboring. If they were strong they stayed in.

    Lots of guys broke down in those days. Especially young guys. I see no real difference in the young age range today concerning breaking down. Young arms are just as fragile now and were fragile then, too. The problem is there is no way to know who can survive until they are well established. So pitch counts are used. And they are self limiting in that some guys like Harang, who certainly suggests that he has that "durable" label, are not used to pitching that long and so they can't - the fatigue beyond 120 or so pitches would be a real and genuine threat to arm health because they've never had to do that unlike earlier pitchers who threw 130-160 pitches routinely from their teen age years. What I do perceive (and it is a perception subject to being completely wrong as perceptions often are) is that fewer veterans today break down completely. Most are saved by medical procedures unavailable before but it just seems fewer veterans see their careers simply end overnight. Is that pitch counts or the surgeries that let them rehab and return?

    Whatever it is, the pitch count era has changed one thing. 7 innings is the new "complete game". Injuries, however, don't seem to be occurring any less frequently than before. I think maybe there is a catch-22 here. The more you throw the stronger your arm and shoulder gets and more you can throw. The more you throw the more risk you face that your arm goes pop, especially if you're tired. A corollary of getting stronger is lifting more weight than before, or running a bit farther or faster than before, or throwing more pitches than before. And a corollary of any repetitive motion exercise is the more you repeat it the more you risk joint or ligament damage. Pitching is a high risk repetitive motion. To become stronger (in the sense of maintaining stuff and command at high counts) you must throw more. Catch-22. Throw more, and the odds of injury certainly increase. Mechanics are different, body types are different and I suspect small differences in shoulder and elbow structure from individual to individual have a big impact, too so pitch counts are nothing but a crude shortcut. But the question is, how many guys have the expertise to accurately spot when a pitcher is "losing" it regardless of what the boxscore or pitch count is saying?

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    Smoltz - 41
    Maddux - 42
    Glavine - 42

    Could be some truth to this style of coaching. All pitched into their 40's and only Smoltz has had any major physical breakdowns and he pitched extra at times. Or they could have just been lucky I suppose, but somehow I think it's more than luck.
    Smoltz has had a few arm issues but I think that can be related the throwing the splitter.

    I wonder if pitchers and their arm trouble can result from weight training? I wonder what the effect of weight training and adding bulk around your shoulder and elbow have on those two body parts. The pitching motion is already a violent motion now add some added muscle and it becomes even more violent. I wonder if the days of running and training your legs help out pitchers more than weight lifting in today's game. During the reds game this weekend it was mentioned that one game Nolan Ryan threw an estimated 200+ pitches in an extra inning game. Whats the difference in pitching between Ryan and the game 20 years ago and the game today?
    Last edited by Chip R; 06-16-2008 at 05:12 PM.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    During the reds game this weekend it was mentioned that one game Nolan Ryan threw an estimated 200+ pitches in an extra inning game. Whats the difference in pitching between Ryan and the game 20 years ago and the game today?
    One could argue that there are Nolan Ryan types throwing in professional baseball today. They question I have is how many Rich Harden's are you willing to sacrifice to find them?

    One could also argue that it's a lot more strenuous to pitch today, given that some middle infielders of today hits like the corner OF of yesteryear.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Dusty and Mazzone together would scare me to death. I can see it now...Most recent starts - Volquez 149 pitches, Cueto - 161, Arroyo - 123 today and 99 two days ago....
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    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Mazzone, Peterson and Pitch Counts

    Yep. I agree that pitch counts are at least a useful rough approximation for a knowledgeable observer saying when a pitcher is 'laboring' and needs to come out.
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