Posted at 11:44 AM on June 14, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
Carlos Silva did something last night that a Twins pitcher hasn’t been able to do in nearly two years.
I’m not talking about pitching hours after his wife gave birth. Joe Nathan managed to pull that off earlier this year.
Silva's astonishing accomplishment was recording a complete game, not a shutout, but just a complete 9-inning game. The last time it had happened, win or lose, was August 12, 2005 when Johan Santana went the distance in Oakland.
Even in today’s era of pitching specialization it’s amazing that around 300 games passed between complete games by Twins pitchers. Had the score been 3-0 after eight last night, we likely would have seen Nathan start the ninth despite Silva’s low pitch count.
That’s a shame. Managers today are far too obsessed with pitch counts and for no reason. Where is the evidence showing that throwing 120 or even 130 pitches every fifth day causes more arm injuries than throwing 100 or 110 pitches? I think the opposite is happening; more pitchers are suffering arm injuries today than in baseball’s pre-closer era.
Who can forget Game 7 of the 1991 World Series? Jack Morris got stronger as the game went on. In fact, the 10th inning was probably his easiest of the game. This past Monday, Justin Verlander's fastball was still around 100 mph in the ninth inning of his no-hitter. The pitcher’s arm should dictate whether he stays in the game or yield to the pen, not an arbitrary number.
Sure the Twins have won two championships with their formula of always starting the 9th inning with their closer if it’s a save situation. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I liked the game better when watching a pitcher go the distance was a common occurrence and not a cause for celebration.