Sullivan: How do you feel about the decline of the starter?

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on October 11, 2018:

If good starting pitching is your jam, there’s a whole lot of it left. Only four teams now remain in the playoffs, but they’re possibly or probably the two best teams from each league, which would mean they’re the most talented. And there’s plenty of talent to find spread across the rotations. The Red Sox rotation begins with Chris Sale, and no matter what you think of David Price in the postseason, his overall body of work is that of an ace. The Astros rotation is excellent front to back, and it’s headed by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw, who’s still great, and Walker Buehler has been a dynamic rookie. Hyun-Jin Ryu wound up with a sub-2 ERA. And there’s still more talent where all that came from. The role of the starting pitcher remains alive and (mostly) well. Every team wants to have at least one ace, and more if they can get it.

But of the remaining teams, the Brewers stand out. The Brewers have assembled a strong and deep bullpen, and they’re not afraid to use it. Their rotation is easily the weakest of the four, yet they know it, and they’ll work to keep it from getting overexposed. The Brewers won’t be relying that heavily on their starters. And even the other teams are likely to go to the bullpen sooner than they would’ve a decade ago. The role of the starter is shrinking. People got mad at Aaron Boone for not quickly pulling his starters in the third and fourth innings. The A’s bullpenned their wild-card game. The Brewers already bullpenned a game of their own.

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Originally published: October 11, 2018. Last Updated: October 11, 2018.