Another way to eat innings?

Classically the starter begins the game and goes until his wheels fall off. Then a reliever or series of relievers come in to finish the game. That’s modern baseball.

With a slew of young unproven pitchers, and Jorge De La Rosa hopefully coming back from surgery in June or so (with an innings limit), the concern was whether the bullpen could survive the season. Can enough of the talent of the young Rockies starting pitchers shine through this year. Many seemed at least a year away. Young pitchers typically have trouble going deep into games. Further, pitching is, well, unreliable. It doesn’t always develop on a schedule, or sometimes at all.

The Rockies brought in Jeremy Guthrie to eat innings. My concern is that there are more innings to be eaten than the Guthrie solution by itself can manage.

My recommended solution, six starters. Every fifth game you start two starters. Each goes four or five innings and the bullpen gets a rest for the day. Relievers have frequently become one inning, or even one batter specialists. This gets around that limitation and plays to the Rockies depth in young starters.

Imagine a game that matters in August with Jamie Moyer starting and Jorge de la Rosa finishing up. Preserving both their recovering elbows and keeping the relief corps more or less on the bench for the day. (The Rockies could promote it as Tommy John Day.) Combined they could be as effective as a top pitcher who delivers complete games.

The Rockies starters have not had a great start to the year. Guthrie, Moyer and Nicasio have delivered two quality starts each in four starts. Not terrible on a small sample, but not great. Guthrie (3.1 innings) and Nicasio (2.2 innings) have each had one lousy start. The three are averaging around six innings per start.

Chacin is an enigma this year. One quality start and averaging four innings per outing. He is just entering the zone where the question is, are we seeing a slow start to the season or a problem in the making. I have no idea, but if he returns to last year’s more than 6 innings per start average, that solves slot number four.

Drew Pomranz is the fifth starter now, but this applies to Pomeranz and all the guys in the minors. They are learning and as fifth starters not as much is expected of them, performance wise. Hopefully Pomeranz keeps learning and is going deep into most games after the all star break.

If one of the starters goes down, this also applies to whomever gets called up. I can't recall a starting pitching staff going through an entire year intact, not likely to happen.

So whether the pairing is de la Rosa and Moyer, or a different combination of pitchers, using two starters every fifth game will lighten the load on the Rockies bullpen. Otherwise the relievers will be looking at pitching maybe two or three innings in three out of five games and perhaps four to six innings the other two games every trip through the rotation. They won’t survive.

More pitcher stats for discussion so you don't have to skip around the web are below.

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Sorry about the formatting, can't get it to behave.

Pitcher Starts IP Inn per Start Quality Starts

Chacin 4 20.0 5.0 1

Guthrie 4 24.1 6.0 2

Moyer 4 23.2 5.2 2

Nicasio 4 22.2 5.2 2

Pomeranz 2 9.1 4.2 0

Game Starter


Chacin 4.0
Chacin 4.0
Chacin 7.0
Chacin 5.0
Guthrie 7.0
Guthrie 3.1
Guthrie 7.0
Guthrie 7.0
Moyer 5.0
Moyer 5.2
Moyer 7.0
Moyer 6.0
Nicasio 7.0
Nicasio 2.2
Nicasio 6.1
Nicasio 6.2
Pomeranz 4.1
Pomeranz 5.0

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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