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McKeon can count just fine


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Finally, someone with a brain that actually considers ALL the numbers.


McKeon can count just fine

Jack McKeon has caught some flak early in the year for getting five complete games in the first two weeks of the season from young starting pitchers A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis. The theory goes that he is asking too much from vulnerable arms and putting them at risk.


This is about the time you start to think: The obsession with pitch counts has advanced from due diligence to insanity.


Asking some 23 year old to give you 140-150 pitches is one thing. You ask around in New York and there are nightmare stories along these lines about the young Dwight Gooden, the young David Cone, a younger Paul Wilson. McKeon isn't even close to any of that, in how he's managed.


In Beckett's three starts, he's thrown 108 pitches, 110, 81, an average of 100 pitches per start. Willis pitched Monday and won his third straight decision, as Juan Rodriguez reports, beating the unbeatable Nationals with 86 pitches; he threw 97 in his first start, 114 in his second start.


And A.J. Burnett threw 86 in his first start, 103 in start No. 2, 105 in his third start, for an average of 98 pitches. The maximum number of pitches any of these guys has thrown, then, is 114.


Each of them has been dominant, most of their innings generally stress-free. They generally haven't been locked into tense 4-4 games, runners on base every inning, every pitch requiring extra effort and adrenaline. Willis has been on the mound to start 26 innings, and of those, 16 lasted just three batters.


A decade ago, the threshold for high pitch counts seemed to be around 120. Once a pitcher reached that number, he almost certainly was not going to start the next inning. But the threshold for conventional wisdom has come down to about 100-105 pitches. When pitchers reached triple digits in pitch counts, you almost never see them come out for the subsequent inning.


Some of this is diligence. There has been more research on the maintenance of pitchers and their arms, led by the likes of Rick Peterson, who did a great job in overseeing the development of The Big Three and was generally conservative with their pitch counts.


But some of reason that the pitch counts have come down is peer pressure ? the fear of doing something different ? because if something goes wrong, you are automatically at risk to be blamed.


Let's face it: If Beckett develops some elbow or shoulder soreness later in the year, the first thing that will be suggested is that McKeon has worked him too hard. And we should know from the pitch counts that this is ridiculous.


There was an old M*A*S*H episode when Henry Blake explains there are rules of war that will always stand, and in a similar way, there are rules of pitching that will never change. Rule 1: Throwing a baseball overhand is an act unnatural to the mechanics of the body. Rule 2: Pitchers are going to get hurt. Managers and pitching coaches must avoid circumstances of outright abuse, but McKeon's handling of his pitchers doesn't fall into this category.

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buster olney knows what's up. the funny thing is is that everyone else on baseball tonight besides steve phillips agrees with mckeon. the sad thing is was that he was probably just put on there to fill a timespot and had to think of something to blabble about.



Phillips is exercising caution. Kruk is saying pitchers should have no problem throwing 150+ a game and that managers should start immediately. Who's the idiot again? Who is filling time with a tired schtick?

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