Powell: Deep in winter, let’s discuss the stifling of starting pitchers

From Michael Powell at the New York Times on January 4, 2019:

Can we talk starting pitchers or, more to the point, their ritual sacrifice on the altar of Major League Baseball analytics?

I put this question to Leo Mazzone, the former pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves and the custodian of one of baseball’s greatest rotations of starting pitchers: Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, Hall of Famers all.

The 2018 playoffs and World Series offered a parade of twitchy managers yanking their starting pitchers after four innings, summoning a parade of faceless relievers to throw one mind-numbing fastball after another for fractions of an inning.

This is spectacular for the radar gun industry, but is it watchable and good baseball?

I heard Mazzone snorting on the other end of the phone line, no, no and no. “It is an embarrassment and insults the intelligence,” he said. “They are abusing pitchers and calling it smart.”

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/sports/baseball/pitching-counts.html

Originally published: January 7, 2019. Last Updated: January 7, 2019.