Posted at 2:08 PM on May 6, 2009
by Chris Dall
You hear the term "innings eater" a lot in baseball these days, and it's just one of the many indicators of the current state of pitching. Under the current definition, an innings eater is a veteran pitcher who will give you 30+ starts and over 200 innings, and keep you in games.
It seems every team wants an innings eater these days, since so many starters can't get past the 5th inning, and bullpens are getting stretched to the breaking point. Unfortunately, a lot of innings eaters are also lousy pitchers (see Hernandez, Livan). Not all innings are eaten equally.
If you really want to talk about eating innings, check out the stats for Will "Whoop-La" White, who pitched between 1877 and 1886. In 1879, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds of the National League at the tender-armed age of 24, White started and completed 75 games and threw a total of 680 innings. His record was 43-31, with an ERA of 1.99.
It's a good thing for Cincinnati's owners that Scott Boras wasn't around.