Pre-game warmup and pitch counts
Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:30 AM
I went to all three Twins/Angels games (yes, I am responsible for this mid-season swoon), but I went solo to the first game. I got to the park an hour early and spent some time watching Gibson and CJ Wilson warming up. They both started with about 15 minutes of long toss, and then ventured over to their respective bullpens. Here, they gradually ramped up the velocity of their pitches under the watchful eyes of their pitching coaches, and each threw about 150 warm up pitches...at least 50-75 seemed to be at full velocity.
It made me wonder about the magic 100 pitch count and the impact of the pre-game warm up on this barrier. If pitches during the game have such great importance in determining how long a pitcher can go, why don't full-bore pre-game pitches count? Or do they? Put another way, if a pitcher significantly reduced his pre-game warm up, say 75 easy throws and 25 full velocity, isn't it logical to assume he could go much further in a game...i.e. perhaps the arbitrary barrier might increase to 125 or more instead of 100? Bert Blyleven is fond of talking about how much sturdier pitchers were in his day and how many more complete games there were. Could it be that pitchers back then just weren't leaving as much in the bullpen, and hadn't thrown as many total pitches by the time the 8th inning rolled around?
Pitchers aren't trying to learn how to pitch in the bullpen...they're merely warming up and fine tuning their mechanics. Perhaps they can achieve these goals in a more compact fashion, and have more left in the tank when the game begins.
I had baseball practice in Irvine the morning after this game, and I had a chance to talk about this with a couple pitchers in my league. Both of them scratched their heads in a "never thought of that" way, and agreed that 50-75 all-out warm up pitches would have an impact on their in-game durability.
What do you guys think? Have I just unlocked the secret to pitchers being able to go deeper into games, like they did in the good old days?
Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:05 AM
But then I know I've seen postgame quotes about guys who had horrible bullpen warmups who then went out and threw a gem of a game.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:13 AM
You would think that this mindset has further deepened over the years with the investment teams are now making with starting pitching.
Edited by twinsnorth49, 08 July 2014 - 10:21 AM.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:37 AM
Maybe the next person to get to a game early can watch the bullpen session, and see how many times the pitcher lets loose pre-game.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:39 PM
/ PS thanks for the kind words about my son, we enjoy him too.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:47 PM
One has to wonder about first inning blowups with regard to this too. Maybe there is a perfect storm of ideal offensive lineup (first inning is the only time this happens for sure) and pitchers at certain level of wear vs. the situation. What I mean about the latter is that perhaps game pitching after throwing 50 plus pitches at full velocity is a problem, and perhaps getting to the bottom of the lineup at that point would be better. Or, in other words, pitchers have basically thrown a bit in warmups to get a bit tired before the adrenaline and focus that the game brings by playing in it. This might contribute to some of these first inning debacles.
What I want to know is what Verlander did back when he was great. He seemed to treat the early innings as a getting loose period before cutting fully loose by the second time through the order.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:48 PM
Many a crappy bullpen session has resulted in a good game.
Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:55 PM
I would add that pick off moves also don't get counted, but certainly put strain on the arm.