Baseball from the Shyster's point of view.
I have to admit, I am a pitch count guy. And while I love stories like this about great duels, I'm glad they are gone.Why?Well, for as great as Marichal was at 25 -- and throughout his 20s -- he was done as a great pitcher by 33. One great thing to me about the "pitch count era" (Doesn't that sound so much better than the steroid era?) is that so many great pitchers have remained good deep into their 30s and early 40s. Although advances in nutrition and training certainly have something to do with extending pitchers careers, it would be silly to think that diminished stress on pitchers arms from pitch counts hasn't contributed as well.
Except that doesn't explain Spahn, who pitched quite well into his 40s. Considering how poor the current pitching pool is in the major leagues (expansion also has a lot to do with this), I don't think pitch counts are a reliable indicator of how long a pitcher will remain effective. Of course, I don't think all pitchers are capable of throwing 16 innings--and no pitcher is capable of doing something like that on a regular basis--but a strong young arm, I think, can be trained to go longer.At this point, I haven't seen any conclusive evidence either direction, but the fact that guys like Seaver, Carlton, Palmer, etc. had long, successful careers without relying on pitch counts says a lot, I believe.
I think it is fair to say there are exceptional pitchers who can actually put up with the stress of high pitch counts. I think what you wind up with are more old fogies pitching well than you used to. I haven't done any analysis on it, but I imagine that to be the case. Everyone's arm is different and there is a lot more standardization in pitching routine, for better or worse. For a lot of pitchers and fans, it is better.
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