Pitch counts are a good thing

Originally Published: April 20, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Reasonable men can, and often do, disagree when the subject is pitch counts. But today when somebody says, "I don't believe in pitch counts," I don't believe him.

Much has been made, this young season, about the complete games thrown by various Marlins: two for Dontrelle Willis, two for A.J. Burnett and one for Josh Beckett. "See," they say, "this is how they used to do it, back when Jack McKeon was a young manager. Now he's an old manager, and he doesn't care about those silly pitch counts."

What's easy to miss is that all three pitchers were extremely efficient in their complete games. Willis' 114 pitches in his second route job were the most among the five. Or as Larry Dierker recently observed, "You should be able to throw a complete game if you've got a good game going."

Throwing a complete game isn't the same as throwing a lot of pitches. Still, it's hard to throw a lot of innings without throwing a lot of pitches. Which is probably why pitchers rarely – very rarely – throw a lot of innings in a game.

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