Thursday, September 30, 2004
133 Pitches? At what Price?
Last night Bobby Madritsch threw 133 pages in a game that is meaningless to the Mariners in the standings. As David Cameron notes at USS Mariner,
Madritsch is averaging 110.4 pitches per start, 4th highest total in the majors. Only Jason Schmidt, Livan Hernandez, and Carlos Zambrano are averaging more P/GS than Mads.Madritsch had reconstructive shoulder surgery about four years ago, when he was in the Cincinatti organization. While we don't have rankings of teams for number of injuries to pitchers, the information in this article suggests that in recent years Cincinnati has been at least as bad as the Mariners in protecting pitchers.
Madritsch’s 138 pitch effort last night (ed note; it was actually 133 pitches) was the 3rd highest single game pitch count of the season. Livan Hernandez threw 144 once and Jason Schmidt threw 143. No other pitcher in baseball has been pushed as long as Mads was last night.
His last 5 starts, he’s thrown 126, 122, 119, 66, and 138 pitches. Last night’s outing was not an isolated incident. He’s been worked very hard since coming up.
If you want a guy to be an effective starter for your team for the nest several years, I think it's questionable to send him out to throw 138 pitches in a game that doesn't mean a thing to you in the standings. I think it's a bad decision when this follows on a series of other starts in which the pitcher has consistently been worked almost as hard. When said pitcher also has reconstructive shoulder surgery in his past, I think it's lunacy.
The last two seasons the Mariners have put similar heavy workloads on Meche and Piñeiro as well as Madritsch. Clearly, the Mariners current philosophy for developing young pitchers involves taking the best and giving them intense workloads.
I've not opined before on Bryan Price - I've cut him slack because he protected pitchers from Piniella's tendencies to overwork pitchers. The Mariners pitching staff responded almost immediately when Price replaced Williams. But that pattern seems to have changed. I don't know if Price has changed, or if he has been overruled. But I don't think it's good, and I don't think it bodes well for young pitching.
As long as this approach reigns on Royal Brougham, we should hope that the Mariners are willing and able to make intelligent trades with talent such as Felix Herandez. Because I think there's too great a chance of him being the next Ryan Anderson as soon as he progresses to higher levels.