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PaleHoseRon
02-10-2004, 01:04 PM
Pitching An Experiment
Wisconsin State Journal :: SPORTS :: C7
Monday, February 9, 2004
State Journal wire services
Now if you're really looking to reinvent baseball, or at least conduct an intriguing pitching experiment, consider a plan percolating in the mind of Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
He is in the early stages of a plan to have relievers start some minor league games, then have starters come in beginning in the third inning.

"We want our starters to pitch important innings, the eighth and ninth, and not look for the bullpen," Melvin said. "We want them to know it's their game. This is what we're developing them for. Some guys never see the ninth inning."

Melvin said he didn't see the disappearance of a closer under his plan, but the starter would at least have a better chance of pitching at the end of a game.



"Even if the relievers give up runs early," Melvin said, "you have more time to come back than if a reliever gives up runs in the eighth and ninth."

A 1999 playoff game influenced Melvin's thinking.

Pedro Martinez relieved for Boston in the fourth inning, with Cleveland ahead 8-7 and held the Indians hitless for the final six innings in what became a 12-8 series-clinching victory for the Red Sox.

"We might consider it for one of our teams at a lower level, for the fourth or fifth starters," Melvin said. "I wouldn't mind experimenting with it in the minors. ... It's just a matter of having enough nerve to do it."

munchman33
02-10-2004, 01:11 PM
Weird. I really don't know what to say. I'd like to say some more empirical data before I make an assertion.

lowesox
02-10-2004, 01:16 PM
I think it's a great idea, although I'm not so sure I'd want to be one of the guinea pig pitchers he's trying it with. Then again, maybe it might bolster there careers. Who knows?

If nothing else, it would get more people out to the minor league team's park.

pudge
02-10-2004, 01:18 PM
It's an intriguing idea, but why would you want a tired arm in at the end of the game?

I always wondered how it would be to take your three best pitchers and let them throw three innings apiece every two or three days.

jeremyb1
02-10-2004, 01:19 PM
I think its placing way too much emphasis on the mental aspect of the game. Pitchers don't struggle to finish games because they're not tough enough physically, they do so because they're physically tired and therefore no longer as effective.

34 Inch Stick
02-10-2004, 01:50 PM
See what Pedro has to say about it in the regular season.

This cannot work for any pitcher who your think is good for a complete game on any given night. You are conceeding too many good innings to a lesser pitcher in that event. Danny Wright can do a lot of damage in 2-3 innings at the start of the game. Imagine what Buhrle would think, coming in to mop up his mess.

The point of the game is to get your best players on the field for the most innings. I don't think you do that under Melvin's plan. The plan needs more thinking but something good could come out of his proposal.

I could see JR signing his pitchers to big contracts tied to innings pitched and complete games and then instituting the plan.

Deadguy
02-10-2004, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by PaleHoseRon

A 1999 playoff game influenced Melvin's thinking.

Pedro Martinez relieved for Boston in the fourth inning, with Cleveland ahead 8-7 and held the Indians hitless for the final six innings in what became a 12-8 series-clinching victory for the Red Sox.

"We might consider it for one of our teams at a lower level, for the fourth or fifth starters," Melvin said. "I wouldn't mind experimenting with it in the minors. ... It's just a matter of having enough nerve to do it."

I remember watching that game thinking, if Pedro was healthy enough to pitch, then why didn't he start the game? I figured that since he didn't start the game, he'd be unavailable for the rest of the series.

If he was healthy enough to throw six-hitless innings, I'm baffled as to why the Red Sox didn't start him, unless Pedro miraculously overcame his injuries during the course of the first three innings.

Tekijawa
02-10-2004, 02:23 PM
Schoenwiese is our 4th starter... Kenny Williams thought of this idea first!

Frater Perdurabo
02-10-2004, 02:24 PM
I remember thinking that this sort of plan would have been good for Melido Perez back in, say, 1989 or 1990 (I can't remember which). Melido would get lit up in the first inning and then settle down and pitch fine for the next few innings. I think one of the announcers may have made such a suggestion -- perhaps in jest -- but it just might have worked.

Also, I remember a day home game in 92 or 93 (I was six rows begind home plate) against Boston where Charlie Hough was wild and got pounded in the first inning and Wilson Alvarez came in and was lights out the rest of the way. The Sox wound up winning that game.

In the mid-90s, after Oakland's 88-91 peak, Tony LaRussa experimented with the Athletics' young pitchers each pitching three innings every third day.

Melvin is one of the brighter baseball minds in the game. I think this idea could work for a team like Milwaukee. What do they have to lose? 110 games?

Conversely, what happens when the "reliever" who starts a game gets on a roll and has a no-hitter going through two or three innings with no walks? Does he get pulled?

Tekijawa
02-10-2004, 02:29 PM
Danny Wright would be an ALL STAR in Milwaukee!

Frater Perdurabo
02-10-2004, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
Conversely, what happens when the "reliever" who starts a game gets on a roll and has a no-hitter going through two or three innings with no walks? Does he get pulled?

Also, what happens if you plan for a "reliever" to pitch two innings and he goes out and gives up five runs and records only one out? It might be too early to go to your "starter" because he may have planned on warming up longer in the bullpen. So do you go to another "reliever?" Then what if he gets shellacked too?

Or, in a game at The Selig Dome, say your "reliever" retires the side 1-2-3, and then the Brew Crew somehow gets five runs and the "reliever" pitcher comes up to bat as the #9 hitter with the bases jammed and no outs in the first inning, but the "reliever" was supposed to pitch the first two innings? Do you sit him down and let the bat off the bench pitch hit, perhaps letting your "starter" begin pitching too early in his warmup routine? Or do you let the "reliever" bat with the bases jammed, potentially allowing him to hit into a double play? Or do you tell him to "intentionally strike out" for the leadoff hitter to come up to bat?

All the permutations are starting to make my head hurt.

lowesox
02-10-2004, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Tekijawa
Schoenwiese is our 4th starter... Kenny Williams thought of this idea first!

Now that was a funny post!

voodoochile
02-10-2004, 04:06 PM
I would be concerned about what happens if the pitcher falters. If you have already used the bullpen, where do you go for relief?

Also, I can see relievers hating this idea because they will never qualify for wins either, while the starters would love it becuase when they come in, they almost cannot get the loss unless they stink the place up.

ma-gaga
02-10-2004, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
I think this idea could work for a team like Milwaukee. What do they have to lose? 110 games?


I was going to attempt to rip this idea, but then I had the same thought. It's the 2004 Brewers we're talking about here.

Might as well experiment around while they are losing 95 games...

:tool
"I vant to sell da Brewers"

:kermit
"c'mere buddy... your next!"

A. Cavatica
02-10-2004, 06:54 PM
This is just nutty. It means you guarantee a fixed number of innings to a lesser pitcher than your starter, who never has a chance at throwing more than seven, even when he's "on". And your starter's still going to get knocked out before the ninth pretty often.

gogosoxgogo
02-10-2004, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
In the mid-90s, after Oakland's 88-91 peak, Tony LaRussa experimented with the Athletics' young pitchers each pitching three innings every third day.

Like pudge said, I've been curious about this idea myself. Someone help a young guy out here, how did that work out for LaRussa?

WinningUgly!
02-10-2004, 11:37 PM
I don't think this is that big of a deal. Melvin is not planning on having the Brewers do this with their big league club.
"We might consider it for one of our teams at a lower level, for the fourth or fifth starters."
He wants to have his young pitchers more prepared for the higher pressure situations they'll see when they reach the upper levels of the minors/majors. Kudos to Melvin for thinking outside the box.

TheRockinMT
02-11-2004, 02:41 PM
It's called strategy. Probably ruin a teams pitching corp, but it's what it is...

Randar68
02-11-2004, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by PaleHoseRon
Pitching An Experiment
Wisconsin State Journal :: SPORTS :: C7
Monday, February 9, 2004
State Journal wire services
Now if you're really looking to reinvent baseball, or at least conduct an intriguing pitching experiment, consider a plan percolating in the mind of Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
He is in the early stages of a plan to have relievers start some minor league games, then have starters come in beginning in the third inning.

"We want our starters to pitch important innings, the eighth and ninth, and not look for the bullpen," Melvin said. "We want them to know it's their game. This is what we're developing them for. Some guys never see the ninth inning."

Melvin said he didn't see the disappearance of a closer under his plan, but the starter would at least have a better chance of pitching at the end of a game.



"Even if the relievers give up runs early," Melvin said, "you have more time to come back than if a reliever gives up runs in the eighth and ninth."

A 1999 playoff game influenced Melvin's thinking.

Pedro Martinez relieved for Boston in the fourth inning, with Cleveland ahead 8-7 and held the Indians hitless for the final six innings in what became a 12-8 series-clinching victory for the Red Sox.

"We might consider it for one of our teams at a lower level, for the fourth or fifth starters," Melvin said. "I wouldn't mind experimenting with it in the minors. ... It's just a matter of having enough nerve to do it."


It's an interesting idea. I don't think I agree with it per se, but it is a different idea. I'd rather teams concentrate on developing better arm strength and endurance in their pitchers with better and more frequent long-toss sessions and simply more frequent non-pitching throwing. Pitchers today are built for short-bursts of activity and many maximum-effort guys really never develop consistency because the way they pitch, it's dangerous for them to throw off the mound that much.

repeatable mechanics and sound fundamental mechanics are far more important to developing pitchers of the future IMO. If you're going to spend 5 years developing a pitcher to the majors, these days, many of them, even the good ones, don't even see 5 years in the pros before they wash out or have severe injuries...

Baby Fisk
02-11-2004, 03:05 PM
A lot of things we now find commonplace were once denounced as radical, crazy ideas. There's no way to tell how this scheme will work out, but it will make for a fascinating study if they try to put it into practice.

sas1974
02-11-2004, 05:11 PM
Definitely an interesting idea. I think it would really blur the line between starter/reliever. Suppose the "reliever" you brought in the start the game was just mowing people down? Then I supposed you're just keep him in the game and the "starter" would become the "closer." But then the "closer".....Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed!!