CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (07/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: I Th... (07/15)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Leav... (07/30)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/22)

July 22, 2013

Baseball Therapy

The High-Pitch-Count Hangover

by Russell A. Carleton


A week ago, Tim Lincecum pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, striking out 13, walking four, and throwing—gulp!—148 pitches. He also drew a walk at the plate and scored a run. I'm sure recording the last out is a moment he’ll remember for the rest of his life, just as it was for Johan Santana, who last year pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history in a comparatively efficient 134 pitches.

Generally, pitchers don't go more than 100 pitches in a game, but this was a special occasion. I used to use the same logic when I wanted to stay up late as a kid. The thing is that once you use the "special occasion" excuse and find out how much fun it is to stay up until midnight, it becomes easy to think of every occasion as special. There's a re-run of that one episode of Deep Space Nine that was so cool? (The baseball one!) That's special and worth staying up the extra hour. The next day, you feel a little groggier, but you get through, and it's not like anything really bad happened. Right?

I have to imagine that a manager who has a pitcher nearing the 100-pitch threshold, but who really has good stuff that night, finds himself in the same basic position. Should he let the pitcher stay up late and face one more batter, or walk out to the mound with a glass of warm milk and tuck the pitcher in for the night?

Here at BP, the idea of pitcher abuse and extreme pitch counts has been previously discussed by Rany Jazayerli and Keith Woolner, but it's been more than a decade since their work. Let's re-visit the issue of pitch counts and the effects that a 140-pitch marathon might have on a pitcher and his performance the next time that he goes out to the mound.

But first...

Warning! Gory Mathematical Details Ahead!
I calculated pitch counts for all starters in all games from 2003-2012. For the purposes of these analyses, I used only pitchers who were starters in their previous outing and were now pitching again as starters five days later (that is, a standard four days of rest between starts).

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

10 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (07/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: I Th... (07/15)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Leav... (07/30)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/22)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, April...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, April 23
Moonshot: What PITCHf/x Can Tell Us About Ba...
Painting the Black: Some Things Brewing
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Historic Tuesday
Premium Article Overthinking It: Pujols Rewrites the Script
The Lineup Card: 10 of Our Favorite Pitches

MORE FROM JULY 22, 2013
Pebble Hunting: Baseball's Paper Airplane Pr...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of July 19-21
Premium Article Painting the Black: The Brewers Who Might Be...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, July 22
The Week In Quotes: July 15-21
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: July 22, 2...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Does Skill Matter?

MORE BY RUSSELL A. CARLETON
2013-08-12 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Using the Closer to Keep a...
2013-08-06 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Prioritizing the Pitcher's...
2013-07-30 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Leave Me In, Coach!
2013-07-22 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The High-Pitch-Count Hango...
2013-07-15 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: I Thought He Was Gonna Get...
2013-07-09 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: An Attempt to Measure Make...
2013-07-01 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: What a Difference a Day Of...
More...

MORE BASEBALL THERAPY
2013-08-12 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Using the Closer to Keep a...
2013-08-06 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Prioritizing the Pitcher's...
2013-07-30 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Leave Me In, Coach!
2013-07-22 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The High-Pitch-Count Hango...
2013-07-15 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: I Thought He Was Gonna Get...
2013-07-09 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: An Attempt to Measure Make...
2013-07-01 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: What a Difference a Day Of...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-01-13 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Building a Better Starting...
2013-12-16 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: What Happened to the Four-...
2013-08-06 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Prioritizing the Pitcher's...
2013-07-30 - Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Leave Me In, Coach!