Last season, there were just 15 pitchers to reach the 200-inning threshold that so many starters still point to as one of their primary objectives in a given season. That matched the season before for the fewest to reach that threshold in a non-strike season. In 2015, there Cheap Bike Jerseys were 28 pitchers to reach 200 innings. Ten years before that, there were 50. Thirty years before, there were 57. You can see where this is headed.
Grit, it seems, is on the wane.
Shields has struggled in recent seasons, so it’s easy to forget that for a while, when he was playing under current Cubs manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay, Shields became something like a 21st-century version of Old Hoss Radbourn. His 11 complete games in 2011 are the most any pitcher has had this century. To label Maddon as old-school or new-school would be inaccurate. It’s more like he’s Maddon-school. But, still, how did Shields convince Maddon to allow him to finish so many games?
So it wasn’t a Deacon Phillippe-type postseason for Verlander, but it was impressive nonetheless. Phillippe pitched during the first decade of the 20th century. It affirmed that even in 2017, there is a place for a pitcher who can shoulder a heavy load. Houston manager A.J. Hinch was able to leverage that trait in Verlander because it was well-established. Verlander’s performance was crucial for the Astros — they likely would not have reached the World Series, much less won, if not for him.
I established myself as a guy who gets stronger as the game goes along, Verlander said. The rest is history. I had the physical ability to do it, but also the right timing and the right manager and the right organization.
Given that combination of factors, it makes you wonder. How many of these vintage pitching performances will we see in the future? Will the playoffs Cheap Custom Baseball Jerseys of the next decade be more marked by the Andrew Millers of the world, or the Verlanders?
Everything is working against the Verlander model. With each season, more and more innings are shifted from the rotation to the bullpen. Increasingly, teams are adhering to analytical precepts that tell them it’s not a good idea to let a starter face a lineup more than two times through the order. At the same time, teams are ever more cautious with the workloads of young pitchers as they wind their way to the big leagues.