From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on April 18, 2018:
In the 2014 World Series, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner came out of the bullpen to save Game 7 with five innings of scoreless relief. On just two days of rest, Bumgarner shut out the Royals on two hits, and it was considered a remarkable feat. The use of top starting pitchers in relief, which occurred fairly regularly during the twentieth century, had (due to high salaries, five-man rotations, and pitch counts) become a novelty in the twenty-first. The last such performance had been in the 2001 Series, when Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks, after starting and winning Game 6 the previous day, won Game 7 in relief against the Yankees.
It hadn’t always been that way. The Fall Classic is the culmination of the season, the opportunity of a lifetime for many players, and pitchers have all winter to rest, with a World Series share to ease the pain. From the beginning of the modern World Series in 1903, there were a number of instances in which a team’s star pitcher took the mound whenever and however he was needed.
Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/all-hands-deck-use-top-starters-relief-world-series
Originally published: April 18, 2018. Last Updated: April 18, 2018.