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DrungoHazewood

Ride 'em Hard

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Bill James has an article up on his site ranking managers by how hard they ride/rode their best pitchers.  I think it's subscriber-only.  He put together an index ranking each manager against his peers, combining use of relievers and starters.  The details aren't particularly important, but it's based on rankings and assigning points to managers based on that.  It's scaled to years so someone who rode his starters hard by the standards of 1965 will rank equally with someone who rode his starters hard by the standards of 2015. He ends up using everyone who'd managed at least ten years since WWII.  That's 59 managers.

The managers who used their pitchers hardest were Bobby Cox and Billy Martin.  The least, by quite a bit, was Casey Stengel.

But on to the Orioles-related content... Earl Weaver was the 10th-hardest on his pitchers of the 59.  But that's broken down into 3rd-hardest on his starters, and was the easiest on his relievers of anyone in the entire study.  Earl liked to say that he wanted to get the most out of his top four starters as he could, and that was absolutely true.  But he used his relievers almost ridiculously lightly.  Pete Richert had ERAs of about 2.00 in '69-70, but only pitched 95 times and a bit over 100 innings combined in those two seasons.  He had Eddie Watt who was amazingly consistent and had very low ERAs, but had two years under Earl where he didn't even pitch 50 innings.  Don Stanhouse pitched in an era where top relievers would regularly throw well over 100 innings, and he never broke 75 under Earl.

On the other end of the scale was Buck Showalter, who was 2nd to Casey in lightest touch on his pitchers.  Buck had three seasons where his high-use score was zero, and there were only 32 instances of that for all managers in the entire study (out of 1806 manager-seasons).

Other Orioles include Frank Robinson, who was 11th, one slot behind Earl for hardest on his top pitchers.  Davey was mid-pack at 35th.  Johnny Oates a few slots below Davey.  Mike Hargrove was close to the bottom, right next to Paul Richards.

And you'll probably ask, but no, there's isn't a correlation between how hard you work your pitchers and how good the pitchers or the team are/is.  As I mentioned, Casey and Bobby Cox have some case for being among the very best managers of all time and they're at the opposite extremes with regard to their staffs.  And you might think that managers tend to rely heavily on really good pitchers, which is true to some extent.  But, for example, Bobby Cox led the league in being tough on his starters with the Blue Jays when his starters were Dave Steib, Luis Leal and Jim Clancy.  So it wasn't just Maddux/Smoltz/Glavine.

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Where was Tony Larusso ranked? My memory was he was hell on the pitching staff, especially relievers, not caring anything about up and down warmups through out the game. 

Dusty Baker was another with a rep for not being a pitcher's manager.

 

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I would have expected Davey higher, especially due to what became of Dwight Gooden.  Booger sugar played a big part there, but he had a ton of pitches on his arm at a very young age.  Mussina in '96 had 16 starts of 110 pitches or more, including 5 with 120+.  McDonald had 7 over 120+.  

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39 minutes ago, Moose Milligan said:

I would have expected Davey higher, especially due to what became of Dwight Gooden.  Booger sugar played a big part there, but he had a ton of pitches on his arm at a very young age.  Mussina in '96 had 16 starts of 110 pitches or more, including 5 with 120+.  McDonald had 7 over 120+.  

110 and 120 pitch games, really wasnt nothing back in the day.

SP when pitching well, was expected to close out their game and save the pen.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Redskins Rick said:

110 and 120 pitch games, really wasnt nothing back in the day.

SP when pitching well, was expected to close out their game and save the pen.

 

 

I know.  It's funny how 100 pitches is now the limit when 25 years ago 120 was commonplace.  And now we have openers.  

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25 minutes ago, Moose Milligan said:

I know.  It's funny how 100 pitches is now the limit when 25 years ago 120 was commonplace.  And now we have openers.  

I would love to know what Bob Gibson season pitch count was for 1968 and 1969 seasons.

He would start 34 and 35 games each, and both seasons, he had 28 complete games.

Just about finishing what you started.

Pitching in 4 man rotations and until the age of 39, didnt seam to impact him too much. :)

 

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I do believe that one season back in the early 70's, Eddie Watt was the save leader on the O's with a whopping 6.  I don't know, did Earl use situational pitching?

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18 hours ago, Moose Milligan said:

I know.  It's funny how 100 pitches is now the limit when 25 years ago 120 was commonplace.  And now we have openers.  

It's just a continuation of a 150-year-old trend.

In 1871 Asa Brainard threw 30 complete games in a 32-game schedule.
In 1884 Old Hoss Radbourne threw 73 complete games out of 114.  678 innings.
The last 600 inning season was in 1892 by Bill Hutchison, which was also the last 500 inning season.
The last 400 inning season was Ed Walsh in 1908.
The last 350 inning season was knuckleballer Wilbur Wood in 1973.
The last 300 inning season was Steve Carlton in 1980.
The last 275 inning season was Dave Stewart in 1988.
The last 250 inning season was Justin Verlander in 2011.
Johnny Cueto and David Price were the last to go 240, in 2014.

The pitches database isn't as long or nearly as complete, but for games we have records:
By Tom Tango's pitch count estimator Joe Oeschger threw about 330 pitches in his 26-inning complete game in 1920.
Stan Williams had a 207 pitch game in 1961. 
The last 175-pitch game on record was by Joey Jay in '62.
The last 150-pitch game was by Livan Hernandez in 2005, one of only two this century.
There was one 130-pitch game in '19, in Mike Fiers no-hitter.  In 1988 there were 236 130+ pitch games.
In '88 there were 598 120+ pitch games.  In 2019 there were 14.

It's been clear for a long, long time that pitchers are much more effective throwing fewer innings and pitches.  It's kind of amazing that it's taken this long to get down to five or six innings a start. Clearly most pitchers and teams would get better results with less work than that.  The only thing stopping them has been roster size.
 

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18 hours ago, Redskins Rick said:

I would love to know what Bob Gibson season pitch count was for 1968 and 1969 seasons.

He would start 34 and 35 games each, and both seasons, he had 28 complete games.

Just about finishing what you started.

Pitching in 4 man rotations and until the age of 39, didnt seam to impact him too much. :)

 

It was a bit of a different world.  In 1968 the average major leaguer had a slash line of .237/.299/.340 and 10 teams failed to hit 100 homers for the year.  I'm pretty sure the Twins had a game last year where they hit 100 homers.

Gibson and the other pitchers of 1968 didn't have to throw max effort and wipeout sliders all the time when the other team's shortstop was Ed Brinkman.

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7 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

It was a bit of a different world.  In 1968 the average major leaguer had a slash line of .237/.299/.340 and 10 teams failed to hit 100 homers for the year.  I'm pretty sure the Twins had a game last year where they hit 100 homers.

Gibson and the other pitchers of 1968 didn't have to throw max effort and wipeout sliders all the time when the other team's shortstop was Ed Brinkman.

1969, the mound was raised 10 inches, and run production went up 2/3 of a run per game average.

Funny 2018 and 1969 slash lines look very close

.246 (.24597) .250 (.25035) .248 (.24816) 1969
.249 (.24925) .247 (.24664) .248 (.24795) 2018
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11 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

1969, the mound was raised 10 inches, and run production went up 2/3 of a run per game average.

Funny 2018 and 1969 slash lines look very close

.246 (.24597) .250 (.25035) .248 (.24816) 1969
.249 (.24925) .247 (.24664) .248 (.24795) 2018

The 2018 slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) was .248/.318/409.
The 1969 slash line was .248/.320/.369.

That would mean an average player in '69 hit .248 with 25 doubles, a few triples, 14 homers and 64 walks.
The average player in '18 was the same except for 22 homers.  There were 60% more homers in '18 and it's just gone up from there.

Teams scored half a run a game more in '18 than in '69.
 

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11 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

The 2018 slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) was .248/.318/409.
The 1969 slash line was .248/.320/.369.

That would mean an average player in '69 hit .248 with 25 doubles, a few triples, 14 homers and 64 walks.
The average player in '18 was the same except for 22 homers.  There were 60% more homers in '18 and it's just gone up from there.

Teams scored half a run a game more in '18 than in '69.
 

I stand corrected. thanks

 

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45 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

1969, the mound was raised 10 inches, and run production went up 2/3 of a run per game average.

Funny 2018 and 1969 slash lines look very close

.246 (.24597) .250 (.25035) .248 (.24816) 1969
.249 (.24925) .247 (.24664) .248 (.24795) 2018

Just a clarification, it was lowered and it was 5 inches. 

https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-height-of-the-hill/

I knew it was lowered (and Rick you probably did too and just typed backwards), but couldn't remember by how much. 

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

It's just a continuation of a 150-year-old trend.

In 1871 Asa Brainard threw 30 complete games in a 32-game schedule.
In 1884 Old Hoss Radbourne threw 73 complete games out of 114.  678 innings.
The last 600 inning season was in 1892 by Bill Hutchison, which was also the last 500 inning season.
The last 400 inning season was Ed Walsh in 1908.
The last 350 inning season was knuckleballer Wilbur Wood in 1973.
The last 300 inning season was Steve Carlton in 1980.
The last 275 inning season was Dave Stewart in 1988.
The last 250 inning season was Justin Verlander in 2011.
Johnny Cueto and David Price were the last to go 240, in 2014.

The pitches database isn't as long or nearly as complete, but for games we have records:
By Tom Tango's pitch count estimator Joe Oeschger threw about 330 pitches in his 26-inning complete game in 1920.
Stan Williams had a 207 pitch game in 1961. 
The last 175-pitch game on record was by Joey Jay in '62.
The last 150-pitch game was by Livan Hernandez in 2005, one of only two this century.
There was one 130-pitch game in '19, in Mike Fiers no-hitter.  In 1988 there were 236 130+ pitch games.
In '88 there were 598 120+ pitch games.  In 2019 there were 14.

It's been clear for a long, long time that pitchers are much more effective throwing fewer innings and pitches.  It's kind of amazing that it's taken this long to get down to five or six innings a start. Clearly most pitchers and teams would get better results with less work than that.  The only thing stopping them has been roster size.
 

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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