Thursday, February 19, 2015

Baseball and Starting Pitching

Now that spring training is ready to start  and I am sort of a baseball junky you likely will see me writing at least once a week about baseball. Football is at rest in the off-season though if you are a football junky you can get into the college combine that is going on right now before the draft along with free agency.

I figured I would start out with starting pitching in the major leagues. There is some positive and negative aspects going on with it.

I will start out with the positive side of starting pitching. Right now pitching is ahead of the hitting the last several years. There are still some good hitters but the pitching is ahead because the scoring is down. The Seattle Mariners went out this off-season and signed Nelson Cruz as a free agent. He primarily will be the designated hitter for them, and occasional play in the outfield. Other teams like San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves made multiple trades to improve their teams. One thing that kept the scoring down was putting a shift on the batters primarily left handed batters. They would move either the third baseman or shortstop on the other side next to second baseman.  Actually the second baseman would be in the short outfield. Another reason you can tell the pitching is superior to hitting is how much the teams are paying for the top pitchers. In fact it is ridiculous how much they paying out. The Seattle Mariners are paying Felix Hernandez around twenty-five million per season; however, during the off-season the top free agent pitchers got around thirty million season. I guess in the future if you are a top hitter you will get a lot of money. Robinson Cano of the Mariners is making twenty-three million a year as a second baseman.  A lot of that has to do with television money as well. In fact the Arizona Diamondbacks this week got a new television deal over cable for over a billion dollars.

On the negative side of starting pitching is finding the depth. The Seattle Mariners were one of the top pitching staffs last season and is expected again this coming season everyone is looking for more starting pitching. When I was growing up the starting pitching staffs had four in their rotation, and they pitched a lot of innings. Now the starting rotation is five pitchers and many of them do not pitch any more than six innings except someone like Felix Hernandez who usually pitches eight innings.

I find the major problem is often injuries keep the starting pitching at five along with the fact that on most teams the fifth starter not only goes six innings if they lucky most have losing records. I know the Seattle Mariners had twice as many losses than wins from the fifth starter. They went through several fifth starters because of injuries and poor performance. Personally I would go back to four starting pitchers at home and throw in a fifth starter while on the road games. I am sure money is a major reason going to five starters along with the fact they do not want the top pitchers like Felix Hernandez getting hurt. The Mariners have more depth this year so I am sure they will not have the same problem; however, many of the other teams do not have the same depth. Also, the Mariners have a strong bullpen so they do not have to pitch the starters as long as some other teams do. I will get into that at another time.

If you are a baseball junky like me enjoy spring training and the season as well.

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