The Complete Game

I just watched Zach Duke of the Pittsburgh Pirates start and finish a complete nine inning game shut out. Albeit against the hapless Houston Astros but Duke does pitch for the Pirates and the Stros are a worthy opponent. So I got to thinking about the pathetic state of affairs MLB finds itself in.

In 1991 Glavine threw less than 10 complete games in leading the NL.
In 1994 Johnson led the AL with fewer than 10 complete games.

Who were last years leaders in complete games?
Webb - with 4.
Halladay - 7.

In 1986 Valenzuela threw 20 CG’s.
1985 - Blyleven - 24
Marichal once threw - 30
McLain - 28.

I am not one who thinks all the specialization, situational and role players are a great refinement to the game of baseball.

What do you think?

I like the situational roles simply because I’m a closer. :slight_smile:

I think that pitch counts are higher earlier in the games nowadays because of the type of baseball played. (More pitches taken, more wasted pitches)

Way back when there was a lot of bunting so pitch counts didn’t get as high as early in the game… so you could go 9 innings with 90 pitches, whereas 90 pitches today normally gets you through 6-7 innings… 8 at the most. Very rarely a full game.

Just my 2cents.

In my oppinion, your poll is missing the most important option, the goal of every SP. And that is to give your team a solid chance to win, every time out. If that means throwing a complete game, so be it. if it means 5+ with 4 ER, as long as you win, I would say mission accomplished.

I appreciate your opinion but I’ve got to defend my position here…

As a starter how in the name of goat cheese can you go out to the mound with the primary thought being, “Well, I’ll just give my team a solid chance to win.” That’s like getting on the plane and the Captain checks in with his passengers saying, “Ok folks sit back and relax…I’m going to do my best and give you all a solid chance to make it home today.” Gives you confidence eh?

You mean in the back of your mind you are saying, “Dang, our DH is lightin it up…I’ll just hold on four or five innings and “Crusher” will get at least three RBI’s and the defense will get me out of a few jams here and there. And our long relievers are pretty good, they’ll get it to the set up guy and by then the closer will save my behind and I’ll get the win.”

I think that’s backassward thinking and it’s way too general a thought to be effective.

There have been alot of wins credited to pitchers who NEVER deserved them…and some fine efforts that were unrewarded.

How bout this…how bout we start the closer, throw the set up man in the second inning and then tell the starter, “Alright kid…you got the last seven innings…go shut them down. Oh yeah, just give our team a solid chance to win.” Now lock the gates to the bullpen boys, he’s on his own…

I got a good laugh from this poll, because I was reminded of an old poem about the six blind men who encountered an elephant. One of the men grabbed the elephant’s front leg and announced that the elephant was like a tree; another one opined that the elephant was like a snake—and so on. The poem ends, "Though each was partly in the right, they all were in the wrong."
I am speaking from personal experience, having been a starting pitcher (who also relieved between starts from time to time). The whole idea is for the starter to get out there and pitch for as long as he can, and if his team gets him a lead to work with his job is to hold that lead. And if he pitches a complete game, so much the better. That lead could be one run, or it could be eight; I’ve been in both situations, and I’ve seen both situations. Remember the opening game of the 1950 World Series? The Yankees got Vic Raschi one run, and he held it, and he pitched a complete game, and the poor Phillies put on a beautiful demonstration of how not to hit him. In the fifth game of the 1951 Series, Ed Lopat was staked to a 12-run lead, and he pitched the complete game and won it 13-1.
As for pitch counts—someone once said that if you take a thoroughbred race horse and train him to run one block, that’s all he’ll ever be able to do. Unless the pitcher has just come off rehab, I see no reason to limit his pitch count; let him go as long as he feels he can. He’ll let you know if he’s running out of steam. 8) :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“Dino”]I appreciate your opinion but I’ve got to defend my position here…

As a starter how in the name of goat cheese can you go out to the mound with the primary thought being, “Well, I’ll just give my team a solid chance to win.” That’s like getting on the plane and the Captain checks in with his passengers saying, “Ok folks sit back and relax…I’m going to do my best and give you all a solid chance to make it home today.” Gives you confidence eh?

You mean in the back of your mind you are saying, “Dang, our DH is lightin it up…I’ll just hold on four or five innings and “Crusher” will get at least three RBI’s and the defense will get me out of a few jams here and there. And our long relievers are pretty good, they’ll get it to the set up guy and by then the closer will save my behind and I’ll get the win.”

I think that’s backassward thinking and it’s way too general a thought to be effective.

There have been alot of wins credited to pitchers who NEVER deserved them…and some fine efforts that were unrewarded.

How bout this…how bout we start the closer, throw the set up man in the second inning and then tell the starter, “Alright kid…you got the last seven innings…go shut them down. Oh yeah, just give our team a solid chance to win.” Now lock the gates to the bullpen boys, he’s on his own…[/quote]

Well obviously, your goal should be to shut down the opponent, thats a given. No pitcher goes out there saying I’ll probably give up four or five today, but thats alright. But you can’t tell me that your mindset doesn’t change in a 1-0 game vs. a 6-0 game. 1-0, you might not throw that three hitter a fastball 2-0 because he might tie the game on one swing, whereas 6-0 you have a lot of room to dance around the lineup and still get the W.

I’m not saying go out onto the mound if your up 4-0 and say to yourself Ok its fine if I give up 3, but just trying to point out that I’ll take 5 IP of 1 run ball where the kid gives you a chance to win every time, over a kid who goes all 7 but gives up 5 and makes it tough to keep up.

The starter’s job is to get as many outs as possible, let’s just leave it at that.

In my opinion the most important thing a starting pitcher can do is give his team a chance to win.

Well said.

As long as you go a minimum of six quality, you should be set up for the W.

I picked the last option, but that’s just me. I was gonna throw my balls off until somebody came and got me. I don’t think I was ever in danger of dying, but there’s something said about being a gamer.

ATTA BOY!

Well with a name like HAMMER, what else?

A pitcher should pitch only as long as he can without injuring himself or others.

How would a pitcher injure others?

Say a pitcher is tired and slips during his delivery,
a wild pitch into the crowd could easily harm someone.
There are plenty of other ways, too.

[quote=“CardsWin”]Say a pitcher is tired and slips during his delivery,
a wild pitch into the crowd could easily harm someone.
There are plenty of other ways, too.[/quote]

Right, that happens a lot.

:roll:

Wow, you’ve actually seen it happen?
Or, of course, if a pitcher is tired, he often starts to lose his control.
The pitching coach and manager will be more susceptible to heart attacks and such…

One time when Vic Raschi was pitching…it was late in the game, and it was obvious he was tiring. He kept stepping off the rubber, going to the rosin bag, mopping his face, shaking off the catcher, and his fast ball was losing its hippity-hop. When Bobby Brown came over from third base to talk to him, Raschi, who would usually snap at the other guy, just looked at Brown and asked plaintively, “Where have you been?” That told Yogi Berra to have manager Casey Stengel signal to the bullpen for someone to warm up in a hurry.
Very often the pitcher himself will let you know when he’s losing it. 8)

I really like pitchers who can hit.
In one game, Vic Raschi got 7 RBIs!
It was an American League record for pitchers.
Raschi was traded to the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1954 and was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 when the Cardinals released him.
He ended up going 12-16 with these two teams.

Cards Win, those were the days—the American League was chockfull of pitchers who could hit. While Vic Raschi wasn’t exactly one of them, he could swing a mean bat when he had to. I remember the game—it was a night game against Detroit, and he drove in seven of the fifteen runs the Yanks scored as they beat the Tigers to an unrecognizable pulp, 15-0. They were playing in Detroit, so I had to content myself with listening to the game on the radio, and I was enjoying every minute of it.
The Yanks had more than their share of good hitting pitchers. Allie Reynolds. Joe Page when he was with the team—he was as much as power hitter as he was a power pitcher, so much so that the Yanks used him a lot as a pinch-hitter. Ed Lopat, who didn’t even look as if he knew how to hold a bat but who, when he was at bat with runners on base, forced the opposing outfields to play straightaway and very deep and hope and pray that he would take pity on them and not hit the ball over their heads (which he often did anyway). Tommy Byrne was no slouch at the plate. And before them there were guys like Red Ruffing, one of the greatest hitting pitchers in all baseball. Spud Chandler. Monte Pearson. I wish the powers that be would scrap the whole designated-hitter business and let the pitchers take their rightful place in the batter’s box. Look at Sabathia…he can hit.
Raschi was unceremoniously dumped on the St. Louis Cardinals because of a contract dispute, by the way. But it might not have made any difference; he had bad knees and they were making it impossible for him to pitch with his customary effectiveness. But while with the Yankees he was a key member of their legendary Big Three rotation, and he and Lopat joined forces to mess up the Indians like nobody’s business; between them they racked up a 62-21 lifetime record. Lo, the poor Indians. :lol:
Lopat, after retiring at the end of the 1955 season, managed the Yanks’ AAA Richmond farm club for a few years, the first of which found him as a playing manager with an 11-6, 2.85 ERA (typical Lopat), and in 1960 he returned to the Yanks for a year as their pitching coach. And if Casey Stengel had listened to him the Yanks might have won the World Series that year; Lopat advised him to start Whitey Ford in the Series opener in Pittsburgh. the idea was that if Ford pitched the opener he would have been available for Game 4 and, if need be, for Game 7. But Stengel had a serious brain cramp and didn’t listen; he was a sentimental bag of mush who wanted Ford to start the third game in New York, and so he went with Art Ditmar in the Pittsburgh opener, which effectively made Ford unavailable… :frowning: