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Thread: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

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    Member NJReds's Avatar
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    Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I didn't see the end of the Yankees-Angels game 2, but driving on Sunday a.m., I heard a sports talk show host rail against Girardi for pitching Mariano Rivera for 2 1/3 innings. Called it a panic move that could keep Rivera out of game 3.

    I thought it was a long time for Mariano to pitch, but looking at the boxscore, he only threw 25 pitches. Sometimes Cordero throws that many for a 1 inning save.

    It's interesting that for the most part we say that a pitcher should come out of a game if he's thrown x number of pitches (usually 100). But then measure wear-and-tear on a pitcher at the end of the season by his innings pitched.

    If Pitcher A throws a complete game in 100 pitches, and pitcher B throws 105 pitches in 7 innings, which guy had more stress on his arm?

    I'd be interested in hearing Redszone's take on this.
    Last edited by NJReds; 10-19-2009 at 01:58 PM.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by NJReds View Post
    I didn't see the end of the Yankees-Angels game 2, but driving on Sunday a.m., I heard a sports talk show host rail against Girardi for pitching Mariano Rivera for 2 2/3 innings. Called it a panic move that could keep Rivera out of game 3.

    I thought it was a long time for Mariano to pitch, but looking at the boxscore, he only threw 25 pitches. Sometimes Cordero throws that many for a 1 inning save.

    It's interesting that for the most part we say that a pitcher should come out of a game if he's thrown x number of pitches (usually 100). But then measure wear-and-tear on a pitcher at the end of the season by his innings pitched.

    If Pitcher A throws a complete game in 100 pitches, and pitcher B throws 105 pitches in 7 innings, which guy had more stress on his arm?

    I'd be interested in hearing Redszone's take on this.
    To the extent I worry about pitchers being pitched too much (and I do not worry about it as much as many people do), I think pitches are a better indicator than innings. However, I think "stress" is relative and cannot be completely quantified within the number of pitches. I think it's likely that in your scenario, a complete game with 100 pitches is probably a lot less stress than the 105 in 7 - not just because of the five more pitches, but because most of those pitches in the first scenario are probably out of the windup (which is a lot less stress on the arm by nature) and there is more of a free-and-easy delivery.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I believe pitches thrown is way more important. Some will argue about the physiology of the body when you rest your arm between innings and then going back out to the mound and "warming your arm back up". But ultimately the quanity of pitches thrown has to be of higher importance, and I don't know why the innings-pitched-watching crowd does not recognize that more often.

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    An inning is an arbitrary measurement piece.

    It can be 3 pitches or it can be a lot more.

    Commentators who don't get the difference, especially in small sample sizes, drive me nuts. The Rivera example is spot on.

    I'm guessing over a large sample size, such as a season, it evens out- pitchers who throw 200 innings probably do so in approximately the same number of pitches.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I would argue that 25 pitches over 3 innings is likely less stressful that 25 pitches in a single inning. Firstly, his arm gets a chance to recoup a little bit between innings. Secondly, he's pitching in relatively low stress situations, making him less likely to overthrow and put more strain on himself.

    I agree that as innings accrue, they become pretty well correlated with pitches, but ultimately it is pitches, the act of throwing the ball, that matters most.
    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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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I don't know the answer, but you have to figure in that the pitcher throws around 8 warm up pitches before every inning. I know they are less stressful, but it still is 8 violent actions that go against the physics of the human arm. Even if those are half as stressful as in game pitches, you would then figure that Rivera threw at least 33 pitches in those 2.6 innings.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNext44 View Post
    I don't know the answer, but you have to figure in that the pitcher throws around 8 warm up pitches before every inning. I know they are less stressful, but it still is 8 violent actions that go against the physics of the human arm. Even if those are half as stressful as in game pitches, you would then figure that Rivera threw at least 33 pitches in those 2.6 innings.
    True, but if Rivera pitched 1 inning and threw 25 pitches than Girardi is supposedly doing a good job, but if Rivera throws 2 1/3 innings and throws 25 pitches then it's a panic move.

    There may be a slight difference between the energy put forth -- the resting/warming up/resting action -- but it seems trivial to me.
    "The players make the manager, it's never the other way." - Sparky Anderson

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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNext44 View Post
    I don't know the answer, but you have to figure in that the pitcher throws around 8 warm up pitches before every inning. I know they are less stressful, but it still is 8 violent actions that go against the physics of the human arm. Even if those are half as stressful as in game pitches, you would then figure that Rivera threw at least 33 pitches in those 2.6 innings.
    Actually, he would have thrown quite a bit more. A pitchers throws more than 8 warm up pitches before he comes into the game. Then, about 8 before each inning. So, at least 24 while in the game and a bunch more warming up.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I think in this case you worry about innings more. In this situation Rivera had to twice do something that is pretty foreign to him. Warming up, pitching, and then cooling down in the dugout can take its toll on an arm that isn't used to doing so. I don't know how many 2 inning saves Rivera has had this season, but I would imagine it isn't that much.

    Rivera may be unable for use for the Yanks 3rd game, but a win in game 2 is much more valuable.

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    Member blumj's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    There was a day off between games 2 and 3, though. And Mariano Rivera isn't human.
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons

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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I think in this case you worry about innings more. In this situation Rivera had to twice do something that is pretty foreign to him. Warming up, pitching, and then cooling down in the dugout can take its toll on an arm that isn't used to doing so. I don't know how many 2 inning saves Rivera has had this season, but I would imagine it isn't that much.

    Rivera may be unable for use for the Yanks 3rd game, but a win in game 2 is much more valuable.
    Then shouldn't any extended stoppage of play...injurys/weather/fans on field/umpire discussions be added to the Abuse Points System? Fair is fair.

    The thing is in theory measuring pitchers workload/abuse is currently for the most part measured in IP...with the understanding that it all evens out over time. Why not use actual pitches, with IP/stoppages in play factored in some how.

    Please don't strawman me and say that I think fans running on the field are a reason to throw the current pitcher workload philosophy into chaos...I'm not. I just don't see why the actual pitch number isn't used in lieu of IP...we have the data...why not use it. For that matter we have the in-game data of how often a pitcher has to rest and warm his arm back up...why not use that?

    Using only IP (many do) to judge a pitcher's workload is pretty arbitrary in my opinion. We microanalyze everything...why not this?

    Edit: Nice topic NJ.
    Last edited by kaldaniels; 10-19-2009 at 04:07 PM.

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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that there is no right or wrong answer here. No one knows for sure how to quantify the effect certain situations have on an arm and we probably will never know.

    Baker got lambasted for abusing Wood and Prior at the time of their demise. Now most of the issues are blamed on poor mechanics. The SD Harang disaster now appears to have had less of a monumental effect as first predicted. The Arroyo abuse talk from 2007-2008 is now non-existant since he became Cy Young in the 2nd half. Yet we see guys who are babied like Liriano go through surgery and subsequent struggles. Guys like Webb, Johan and Peavy starting to break down when historically they have been treated with kid gloves. Guys like Zambrano who pitch tons each year and still are out there every 5th day.

    I think there is a common sense piece of this, like don't pitch a closer 7 innings or don't throw a starter for 200 pitches. My own opinion is that as long as you stay within the boundaries of what the subject arm is used to (as well as within the boundaries of reasonableness), you should probably be fine. But there isn't any science to it and that's only one man's opinion. And there will be exceptions. And any "stat" that is discussed as having some predictive type of effect is probably bunk.
    Last edited by edabbs44; 10-19-2009 at 05:01 PM.

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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    Then shouldn't any extended stoppage of play...injurys/weather/fans on field/umpire discussions be added to the Abuse Points System? Fair is fair.

    The thing is in theory measuring pitchers workload/abuse is currently for the most part measured in IP...with the understanding that it all evens out over time. Why not use actual pitches, with IP/stoppages in play factored in some how.

    Please don't strawman me and say that I think fans running on the field are a reason to throw the current pitcher workload philosophy into chaos...I'm not. I just don't see why the actual pitch number isn't used in lieu of IP...we have the data...why not use it. For that matter we have the in-game data of how often a pitcher has to rest and warm his arm back up...why not use that?

    Using only IP (many do) to judge a pitcher's workload is pretty arbitrary in my opinion. We microanalyze everything...why not this?

    Edit: Nice topic NJ.
    Not a big believer in the pitchers abuse points system. I think that every pitcher is different and effected differently. I really think without having first hand exposure to a certain pitcher, it is very difficult to estimate a abuse points system.

    The reason why I think in a reliever's case pitching multiple innings, when you are not used to doing so, is more difficult is because you aren't used to sitting on the bench while pitching. Most of the time you are used to warming up in the pen, coming in, and pitching right away. You come in ready, throw a couple of pitches, and are ready to go. When you pitch 2+ innings you spend 2 half innings sitting on the bench. You spend 2 half innings cooling down, I would imagine the cold weather only makes it worse.

    Pitchers have a routine, and when that routine is broken, bad things can happen. I think its similar to the reason why every day players don't like to DH. They don't want their rhythm screwed with.

    Sure IP are an arbitrary number but so is 100 pitches. Why is 120 pitches worse than 100 pitches? Without first hand knowledge, the pitcher, you really don't know the stress level of any pitch count.

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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Not a big believer in the pitchers abuse points system. I think that every pitcher is different and effected differently. I really think without having first hand exposure to a certain pitcher, it is very difficult to estimate a abuse points system.

    The reason why I think in a reliever's case pitching multiple innings, when you are not used to doing so, is more difficult is because you aren't used to sitting on the bench while pitching. Most of the time you are used to warming up in the pen, coming in, and pitching right away. You come in ready, throw a couple of pitches, and are ready to go. When you pitch 2+ innings you spend 2 half innings sitting on the bench. You spend 2 half innings cooling down, I would imagine the cold weather only makes it worse.

    Pitchers have a routine, and when that routine is broken, bad things can happen. I think its similar to the reason why every day players don't like to DH. They don't want their rhythm screwed with.

    Sure IP are an arbitrary number but so is 100 pitches. Why is 120 pitches worse than 100 pitches? Without first hand knowledge, the pitcher, you really don't know the stress level of any pitch count.
    Let me add I'm not a believer at all in Abuse Points or simply looking at IP. I think each pitcher is a unique indivudual and must be managed accordingly and as eddabbs said...with common sense. That said I have always wondered why IP is the stat always referenced in regards to pitcher workload, and I am looking forward to this thread.

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    Member blumj's Avatar
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    Re: Innings Pitched vs. Pitches Thrown

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    That said I have always wondered why IP is the stat always referenced in regards to pitcher workload, and I am looking forward to this thread.
    Because someone happened to notice that big increases in IP appeared to correlate with injuries and less effectiveness in younger pitchers. I don't think many MLB teams consider all innings, or all pitches, to be equal, not unless they're not thinking it through at all.
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons


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