Editor's note: Hot Stove U. is a six-week course devoted to higher learning, a series consisting of 30 need-to-know topics for 2010. This is the final edition.
On June 2 of last season, heading into the top of the ninth inning with the
Toronto Blue Jays up 6-4 over the visiting Los Angeles Angels, Toronto manager Cito Gaston
sent Roy Halladay back to the mound. Halladay already had thrown 116 pitches in the game.
orthodoxy would have had Halladay out of this midseason game at least 10 pitches earlier. So the question stands: Why would Gaston send him
Obviously, Halladay is not some young pitcher who needs to be babied,
but even so, 116 pitches is a lot. Why tempt fate with one of
the game's best pitchers and potential trade bait (with the trade
deadline less than two months away) for a team that almost certainly would not be making the postseason?
In the end, Halladay closed out the game with 133 pitches,
giving his team the victory. Did Gaston put Halladay's arm at
risk, or did he realize that not all pitchers are the same?
Those questions are relevant, but we're here to demonstrate something else: Not all pitches are created equal.