Cue the Duckboats | Championship Collection for Banner 18SHOP HERE

Advertisement

Bullpen Games Like World Series Game 4 Suck Ass

Tonight's Game 4 of the World Series has been an ugly disaster. The Diamondbacks are showing as much fight as I would in Rough 'N Rowdy against Billy Football. It's just an uncompetitive mess of a game that even has hardcore baseball fans wondering if they should watch the new version of Press Your Luck on ABC (hosted by Elizabeth Banks!). Do I want to watch someone named Brock Burke pitch or avoid Whammies?

Giphy Images.

The root cause of this game being so bad is that it's a bullpen game. No one likes these. They are born out of necessity because the game has made starting pitching less and less of a factor in modern baseball. Teams have adopted the philosophy of having starters throw as hard as they can for 4-6 innings and then go to the bullpen.

You look at the complete game numbers from even 20-30 years ago and they seem hard to believe. In 2003, Bartolo Colon, Mark Mulder and Roy Halladay each had 9 complete games. That isn't THAT long ago. But looking at these stat lines makes it feel like this:

Giphy Images.

Ends up Rob Manfred hates bullpen games too. He wants pitchers to go longer into starts and is willing to change some roster rules to make it happen.

Advertisement

SOURCE -  Major League Baseball would consider limiting 26-man rosters to 12 pitchers after 2024 in an attempt to incentivize teams to prioritize starting pitching, commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday before Game 1 of the World Series. 

Starting pitchers were responsible for 67.84% of innings in 1998; beginning in 2016, that figure has dropped nearly every year. It sat at 57.94% in ’19, at which point the league intended to limit rostered pitchers to 13 to encourage teams to use each pitcher for longer. It delayed the implementation of that rule until ’22 because of the pandemic, but there has been little improvement: Starters accounted for 57.98% of innings this year. 

“I don’t think it’s had the desired effect,” Manfred said. “There are a few numbers smaller than 13.” With a smile, he acknowledged that 12 would be the next step but said he would wait until at least 2024 to make the issue a priority with the competition committee, which would then make a recommendation to the league and the players’ association, who would vote. 

I am all in favor of this and I agree with Manfred on how to make it happen. I'd like to see the number closer to 10 or 11 honestly but we need to give teams time to change not just the philosophies at the major league level but the minor leagues as well. It would mean you'd have less starters throwing 101 MPH for 5 innings and more throwing maybe 93-96 and going into the 8th. 

I hate going to a game where I know it's a bullpen game going in. You know you aren't going to see a no-hitter or something special on the pitching front. A pitching duel is out of the question. No one wants to drive all the way to stadium, pay for parking, a ticket and $10 for a hot dog knowing you are going to see the 6th guy out of pen before the game even starts.

Obviously, eliminating bullpen games isn't going to end blowouts like we are seeing in Game 4 tonight. Shitty games happen. But I bet we see less of them. You'd also build up some more excitement for the sport. I don't think anyone was more thrilled heading into tonight's game as they were yesterday. The best baseball is rooted in starting pitching.

If more and more people are watching Press Your Luck instead of the fucking World Series, than you better believe FOX might pressure Manfred to make the move himself.

Thanks for reading all the way through. I appreciate it. As a thank you, here are some pictures of Elizabeth Banks having fun in a tub..

Giphy Images.