How do you handle these two young guns? I don’t have the answers. But I keep looking for them.
Do you let them throw as long as they are healthy and effective? Or do you continue to baby the hell out of them, ever fearing the worst? Do you have to develop a way to separate “easy innings” from “high stress” innings. Are “easy innings” innings in which the pitcher gets out in under 12 pitches? Are “high stress” innings those that require greater than 18 pitches? After all, all innings are not created equal.
I’ve listened to/read Goose Gossage, Jim Kaat and Tommy John recently, discussing how they believe pitchers need to train to go longer in games. The old “you don’t train to run a marathon by running 2 miles” analogy. I had been a big believer in the protecting of arms at all costs, but I have come around to more of the old school approach. Over-protecting an arm is fine if you think that arm belongs to a motion that is flawed. But if the pitcher has good fundamentals and approach, I think the pitchers need to learn to extend, reach for that extra inning. Stop looking towards the dugout once he gets close to 100 pitches.
Small guys like Lincecum and Oswalt each tossed 2 hit complete games last night. Lincecum has gone the distance in 3 of his last 4 games. He’s conditioned himself to do that. Halladay, too. Lincecum’s highest pitch count in any one inning was “just” 13 pitches. He finished the game in under 100 pitches. No walks, 8 K’s. Efficiency.
I’d like to see Joba and Hughes eventually get to that.