2024 Rotation and Bullpen

SouthernBoSox

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I've wondered about this too. Seems like one of the ways they're trying to protect these guys is by keeping them to around 80 pitches. Whitlock threw 81, Kutter 84, Pivetta 84, Bello 84 too. Maybe the evidence suggests most arm injuries happen when guys are trying to air it out past pitch 85? I don't know.
The Mariners were very good last year against fastballs and very bad against breaking balls.

What you are seeing is a pitching staff being aggressive in attacking an opposing teams weakness. They are prepared.

There is zero chance breaking ball usage stays above 50%
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Heavy reliance on breaking pitches has been noted as a factor in the demise of the careers of the likes of Mike Norris, Steve Stone, and even Oil Can Boyd, but true certainty eludes MLB in this regard.
I'd imagine it depends on the type of breaking pitches being thrown too. Some are more stressful on the arm than others. While a factor in those guys demises, I imagine the 250+ innings per season and 130+ pitches per start had as much or more to do with their breakdowns.

All that said, it's way too early to jump to any conclusions about the Sox approach. It was one series against one team. Maybe it'll be like the classic Belichick defense...the approach is tailored to each opponent. Not every team will necessarily be as susceptible to a high percentage of breaking pitches.
 

Rovin Romine

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Perhaps it is time to remove the parenthetical from the thread title?
Yep. Although I would suggest that while this remains a thread to look at the pitching staff both globally and as individuals, it is not the place for long speculative "how I would have done things" digressions that involve magically creating a pitching staff we do not actually have.

And to cross-post from our discussion in the March/April thread. . .I am curious about Bush v. Bailey and Varitek's role. (Noting that whatever the Cora/Bush/Varitek dynamic was, both Cora and Tek get credit for actually implementing something new -and effective!- in the Bailey era. But it makes me wonder why some of this didn't happen sooner.)

I was never really down on Bush at any point, despite mocking the mound visits in the game threads, since those never seemed to help right an outing going wrong. I think because a lot of the pitching woes seemed more execution-related, as opposed to strategically unsound. Also, the org generally said the (bland but) right things regarding pitching - throw strikes, get ahead, don't walk batters, etc. And they embraced analytics to an extent, so I more or less figured they were getting "a lot" out of the pitchers overall.

Success stories like 2023 Winckowski, late-2023 Pivetta, and LA-Brasier suggested that if the pitchers revamped their pitches or added a pitch, they could drastically improve. But that's not easy, and apart from something like that, the "natural" stuff guys had, like Pivetta's FB/curve, Bello's sinker/change, Crawford's mixed bag, and Houck's FB/slider, suggested Bush had already tapped them out and they were stalling on developing/polishing a 3rd pitch for starter variety (as it is commonly argued starters need.)

So it's fascinating to see these guys come in and play to their strengths and immediately be successful against a legit ML lineup in their home park. I'm very curious to know the why and how of this difference. And if it can be sustained.
 

Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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Seems like a recipe for damaging arms though?
It's long been conventional wisdom that breaking pitches are damaging to arms, but I'm not sure there's any definitive data to support it. If there is, I'd love to see it. There is definitely data showing that increased velocity leads to increased injury risk, however. So having the Red Sox pitchers emphasize breaking stuff may be a lesser-of-two-evils approach when it comes to preventing injuries.
 

Rovin Romine

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It's long been conventional wisdom that breaking pitches are damaging to arms, but I'm not sure there's any definitive data to support it. If there is, I'd love to see it. There is definitely data showing that increased velocity leads to increased injury risk, however. So having the Red Sox pitchers emphasize breaking stuff may be a lesser-of-two-evils approach when it comes to preventing injuries.
It's pretty hard to untangle pitch type (in terms of how the ball moves in the air) from things like conditioning, mechanics, effort, pitch use over time, peak use of pitches, peak use in terms of outings, pitcher age, and the genetic lottery.

That said, I'm sure some pitching grips and some throwing mechanics are worse than others, and put more stress/strain on particular parts of the body - particularly elbow and shoulder. And I'm also sure that there's some broad correlation with pitch types.

Hopefully new tech will let experts more finely define the dos and don'ts of mechanics in the coming years.
 

MetSox1

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It's long been conventional wisdom that breaking pitches are damaging to arms, but I'm not sure there's any definitive data to support it. If there is, I'd love to see it. There is definitely data showing that increased velocity leads to increased injury risk, however. So having the Red Sox pitchers emphasize breaking stuff may be a lesser-of-two-evils approach when it comes to preventing injuries.
I wish i had something better, but this isnt a bad (inconclusive, but enough for me) analysis:

https://www.larrythegm.com/post/mlb-the-real-reason-for-pitcher-injuries
 

chrisfont9

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Rovin Romine

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I wish i had something better, but this isnt a bad (inconclusive, but enough for me) analysis:

https://www.larrythegm.com/post/mlb-the-real-reason-for-pitcher-injuries
It's a good start, but you'd really want to notice any other league wide changes from 2015 to 2023. . .and then work back to see if there's a correlation between any of those (or combinations of those) and the actual injured pitchers. A big project.

Here's an article that shows rising velocity from 2008 to 2023. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/cooper-ever-climbing-velocity-pushes-hitters-to-the-brink/

So I'm not sure how to untangle that. Meaning, maybe increased injuries aren't most strongly correlated to just throwing sliders (hard or weak), but throwing sliders while also burning out your arm trying to keep pace with the rising fastball speed?
 

Rovin Romine

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And to Segue this back to the Sox Rotation/Bullpen, let's look at what we have. Specifically, what's going on in the minors.

While AA does not start until April 5th, the AAA season opened on the 29th.

29th:
Gambrell starts and goes 4 (89 pitches). Benitez, who has a good live left arm, went 1.2 in relief (39 pitches). Bernardino threw a scoreless inning (17 pitches). Jacques got lit up.
(Romy Gonzalez started at 1B. . .interesting.)

30th:
Van Belle starts and goes 5 (73 pitches). Kelly and Shugart each go one, and Booser who has a good live left arm goes 2 in relief (36 pitches.)
(Romy at SS)

31st:
Alexander went 4 innings (53 pitches) and then Hagenman (good spring) went 3 innings (36 pitches). Leutge logged a single inning with 2 Ks.
(Romy at 2B)

***

So, thusfar we haven't seen Fitts (who started March 26 in ST against TX), or Uwasawa (extended ST, IIRC), or Criswell, who last started March 21 in ST.. There are no games scheduled for today.

While I don't think all AAA decisions are made in light of the big league club, I think it's interesting that Benitez, Hagenman, and Booser are perhaps being lightly stretched out as middle-innings men, while Bernardio and Leutge's usage has been light thus far (keeping arms fresh?)

Whether that is a cap tip to whomever might be called up first. . .I do not know. But I like the spread of approaches here. Stretch some guys out as longer arms, keep other guys fresh. (If that's what's going on here.)

I also think, by luck or design, it's smart to have Fitts and Criswell start later in the MiL season, just in case the Sox needed an emergency callup for an immediate injury/pitcher implosion or something like that.
 

nvalvo

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The other GMs have probably noticed our luck/expertise in the Rule 5. On Sunday Whitlock (from NYY) pitches a gem. Then closed out the game with Slaten, signed in a marginal trade with the Mets.
Slaten was pretty widely seen as a candidate to get popped in rule 5, but still, that suggests pretty nice work by pro scouting, I’d say. A few scouts might be in line for retention raises.
 

nvalvo

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And to Segue this back to the Sox Rotation/Bullpen, let's look at what we have. Specifically, what's going on in the minors.

While AA does not start until April 5th, the AAA season opened on the 29th.

29th:
Gambrell starts and goes 4 (89 pitches). Benitez, who has a good live left arm, went 1.2 in relief (39 pitches). Bernardino threw a scoreless inning (17 pitches). Jacques got lit up.
(Romy Gonzalez started at 1B. . .interesting.)

30th:
Van Belle starts and goes 5 (73 pitches). Kelly and Shugart each go one, and Booser who has a good live left arm goes 2 in relief (36 pitches.)
(Romy at SS)

31st:
Alexander went 4 innings (53 pitches) and then Hagenman (good spring) went 3 innings (36 pitches). Leutge logged a single inning with 2 Ks.
(Romy at 2B)

***

So, thusfar we haven't seen Fitts (who started March 26 in ST against TX), or Uwasawa (extended ST, IIRC), or Criswell, who last started March 21 in ST.. There are no games scheduled for today.

While I don't think all AAA decisions are made in light of the big league club, I think it's interesting that Benitez, Hagenman, and Booser are perhaps being lightly stretched out as middle-innings men, while Bernardio and Leutge's usage has been light thus far (keeping arms fresh?)

Whether that is a cap tip to whomever might be called up first. . .I do not know. But I like the spread of approaches here. Stretch some guys out as longer arms, keep other guys fresh. (If that's what's going on here.)

I also think, by luck or design, it's smart to have Fitts and Criswell start later in the MiL season, just in case the Sox needed an emergency callup for an immediate injury/pitcher implosion or something like that.
This is very interesting. It does seem like we should be aiming for a rotating cast of long men to square the circle in terms of managing bullpen IP, and given the new limits on option use, we probably need a bunch of them.

Looks like we might see a pretty aggressive use of roster moves.
 

mwonow

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And to Segue this back to the Sox Rotation/Bullpen, let's look at what we have. Specifically, what's going on in the minors.

While AA does not start until April 5th, the AAA season opened on the 29th.

29th:
Gambrell starts and goes 4 (89 pitches). Benitez, who has a good live left arm, went 1.2 in relief (39 pitches). Bernardino threw a scoreless inning (17 pitches). Jacques got lit up.
(Romy Gonzalez started at 1B. . .interesting.)

30th:
Van Belle starts and goes 5 (73 pitches). Kelly and Shugart each go one, and Booser who has a good live left arm goes 2 in relief (36 pitches.)
(Romy at SS)

31st:
Alexander went 4 innings (53 pitches) and then Hagenman (good spring) went 3 innings (36 pitches). Leutge logged a single inning with 2 Ks.
(Romy at 2B)

***

So, thusfar we haven't seen Fitts (who started March 26 in ST against TX), or Uwasawa (extended ST, IIRC), or Criswell, who last started March 21 in ST.. There are no games scheduled for today.

While I don't think all AAA decisions are made in light of the big league club, I think it's interesting that Benitez, Hagenman, and Booser are perhaps being lightly stretched out as middle-innings men, while Bernardio and Leutge's usage has been light thus far (keeping arms fresh?)

Whether that is a cap tip to whomever might be called up first. . .I do not know. But I like the spread of approaches here. Stretch some guys out as longer arms, keep other guys fresh. (If that's what's going on here.)

I also think, by luck or design, it's smart to have Fitts and Criswell start later in the MiL season, just in case the Sox needed an emergency callup for an immediate injury/pitcher implosion or something like that.
Good to see the Joely replacement options doing well, since Joely himself is not...
 

Cassvt2023

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Good to see the Joely replacement options doing well, since Joely himself is not...
In fairness, Joely would've been out of that inning yesterday if not for a missed call by the ump. Youk was all over it, saying he needed to get that call.
 

mwonow

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Fair enough. Just a reaction to JoeLy being involved in both Ls so far this year.
 

doctorogres

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The Mariners were very good last year against fastballs and very bad against breaking balls.

What you are seeing is a pitching staff being aggressive in attacking an opposing teams weakness. They are prepared.

There is zero chance breaking ball usage stays above 50%
Hard agree with this take. I wouldn't read too much into this as some risky strategy the Sox are implementing for the full season and are therefore flirting with injury. It was a good game plan vs. the Mariners and it worked.

From the Seattle Times:
In the hours before Saturday’s game at T-Mobile Park, a professional scout for an opposing team was discussing what he’d seen from the Mariners in the first two games of the season as compared to scouting them this spring and all of last season.

“Looks like it is still ‘spin to win’ to beat them again,” he said.

After the first four games — an admittedly small sample size — it appears that three-word plan of attack is still effective against the Mariners’ retooled lineup that was expected to generate more contact and fewer strikeouts.
 

Rovin Romine

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His bigger sample sizes say he's a 3.50-ish FIP guy with a 9 k/9 rate, so I am happy to see if he shakes off the rust from a lost season.
We probably need someone who can sort the data better, but his recent year to year splits are nuts - so you wonder how much that FIP is worth. Rounding a bit:

2020 - 12 innings .500 OPS v righties in 35 PAs, .485 v lefties in 17 PAs. A .100 OPS shift in favor of the home park.​
2021 - 46 IP. .825 OPS v righties in 140 PAs, .560 v lefties in in 67 PAs. Overall home/away and first/second half numbers are close.​
2022 - 50 IP. OPS of .625 v righties in 119 PAs, .650 v. lefties in 97 PAs. A .070 OPS difference between home/away, and .100 worse in the second half. (ERA got better in the second half though.)​
2023 - 11 IP. 1.000 OPS to righties in 33 PAs, .575 to lefties in 18 PAs. Same .070 swing in favor of the home park. Overall OPS falls from 1.146 in the first half to .565 in the second half.​
2024 - who knows? But thusfar, 2 IP. 1.100 OPS v righties in 6 PAs, .800 to lefties in 5 PAs.​

He seems to go from good to great v. lefties, and is all over the map v. righties.

His last sustained success against RHP was in 2022, but he did not replicate it in 23, or thusfar in 24. It wasn't exactly a constant before that though.

I have no objection to trying to unlock the guy's potential, but prefer it didn't happen in real time with ML games on the line. If there's a RHB involved - maybe use him as the last man out of the pen until he shows he can get them out.
 

chrisfont9

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We probably need someone who can sort the data better, but his recent year to year splits are nuts - so you wonder how much that FIP is worth. Rounding a bit:

2020 - 12 innings .500 OPS v righties in 35 PAs, .485 v lefties in 17 PAs. A .100 OPS shift in favor of the home park.​
2021 - 46 IP. .825 OPS v righties in 140 PAs, .560 v lefties in in 67 PAs. Overall home/away and first/second half numbers are close.​
2022 - 50 IP. OPS of .625 v righties in 119 PAs, .650 v. lefties in 97 PAs. A .070 OPS difference between home/away, and .100 worse in the second half. (ERA got better in the second half though.)​
2023 - 11 IP. 1.000 OPS to righties in 33 PAs, .575 to lefties in 18 PAs. Same .070 swing in favor of the home park. Overall OPS falls from 1.146 in the first half to .565 in the second half.​
2024 - who knows? But thusfar, 2 IP. 1.100 OPS v righties in 6 PAs, .800 to lefties in 5 PAs.​

He seems to go from good to great v. lefties, and is all over the map v. righties.

His last sustained success against RHP was in 2022, but he did not replicate it in 23, or thusfar in 24. It wasn't exactly a constant before that though.

I have no objection to trying to unlock the guy's potential, but prefer it didn't happen in real time with ML games on the line. If there's a RHB involved - maybe use him as the last man out of the pen until he shows he can get them out.
He had shoulder issues all last year, so even though he got in 15 innings, I wonder how much value there is in those numbers. But otherwise yeah, your point stands.
 

BigSoxFan

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Tremendous start for Imanaga today. 6IP, 0ER, 9K’s. We’ll see if he can sustain it but will be a guy I follow pretty closely this year.
 

Rovin Romine

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He had shoulder issues all last year, so even though he got in 15 innings, I wonder how much value there is in those numbers.
Probably not a lot, so I'm fine with trusting the coaching staff's assessment of his likely effectiveness.

I suppose when it comes down to it I'm less sanguine about Cora's future use for him. I 100% don't want to see him come in with a tying run on in the OAK series because "it's a good time to get his confidence back up" or "all our pitchers are big league pitchers" or some Cora-esque bullshit like that. He did that with Jansen last year and blew back to back saves. Let Joely have a breather and nail down a few scoreless mid-game innings and get his confidence back up that way. (And I hope he does. 2022 Joely has a role in any bullpen.)
 

chrisfont9

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Probably not a lot, so I'm fine with trusting the coaching staff's assessment of his likely effectiveness.

I suppose when it comes down to it I'm less sanguine about Cora's future use for him. I 100% don't want to see him come in with a tying run on in the OAK series because "it's a good time to get his confidence back up" or "all our pitchers are big league pitchers" or some Cora-esque bullshit like that. He did that with Jansen last year and blew back to back saves. Let Joely have a breather and nail down a few scoreless mid-game innings and get his confidence back up that way. (And I hope he does. 2022 Joely has a role in any bullpen.)
What did you think of Slaten coming in when he did yesterday? [He's a better matchup than Joely probably... if he's feeling "ready".]
 

BigSoxFan

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I am very intrested in him as well. But please don't follow him in this thread? He's not one of ours.
Sorry, didn’t know the appropriate thread to post it in. This will be my last Imanaga…until we trade for him as a reclamation project in 2027.
 

Rovin Romine

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Sorry, didn’t know the appropriate thread to post it in. This will be my last Imanaga…until we trade for him as a reclamation project in 2027.
We've got a generalish monthly thread going in the MLB forum where Sale and others are being discussed. There's also the adopt-a-team threads. You don't really need to adopt a team wholesale to post in them about particular players. You could also probably create an adopt-a-player thread there. I'd certainly read it. Seriously - I'm very interested in following a number of non-Sox (and ex-Sox) pitchers this year; Sale, YY, Imanaga, E-Rod, Wacha, etc.

It's just nice to have a place where you don't have to sort through other stuff to get discussions and thoughts about our players.
 

Rovin Romine

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What did you think of Slaten coming in when he did yesterday? [He's a better matchup than Joely probably... if he's feeling "ready".]
Personally? I loved it. And the proof is in the pudding, as they say. I think he's got a ton of upside and I'm very excited to seem him pitch this year and in the future.

I do think Joely has a role, and I hope he claims it and excels. But not so much I want to lose a game for that to happen. If it were later in the season and we were out of it - sure, even though he's a year-to-year guy we don't control.
 

Apisith

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I was bullish on Houck and Whitlock. Glad that they've started the season very well, it reflects the work Bailey's done.
 

rodderick

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Pitching Ninja has always loved Houck, a pioneer in the "righty Sale" comps. Dude was outstanding yesterday, his stuff will always play, it's a matter of not being behind in the count and having to throw fastballs, if he can live off speed it's good night.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Some interesting quotes from Bailey about pitching philosophy. Sox starters have struck out 37 batters and issued just one walk. Thinking about fastball usage, there will be a change, but not a drastic one: Last year, the Giants threw the fewest four-seamers and two-seamers in the league, accounting for 42.6 percent of their pitch mix. Meanwhile, the Red Sox ranked 17th throwing four-seamers and two-seamers 47.7 percent of the time.

“Every pitch we make in a game is a bet,” Bailey said over the weekend. “You’re trying to drive a positive outcome. Off-speed pitches generally reduce damage and generate more swing and miss. So every pitch we throw is a business decision. Every pitch we throw is a bet that we’re betting on decreasing damage and reducing contact. So most times, you want to leverage your best off-speed weapons, understanding that you know there is room to use your fastballs when needed.”

“The history of baseball suggests that fastballs in general have the most damage attached to them,” Bailey said. “So, looking at some fastball rates from last year, there’s some low-hanging fruit there and leveraging our weapons that generate weak contact and swing-and-miss more often.”

“We speak a lot about the fastball in general being a jab and equating that to boxing,” he said. “If you’re going 12 rounds or eight rounds, you’re not going to win by throwing jabs the whole time. The damage is done by throwing your haymakers in your best sequences. Jabs need to be located supremely to do any damage. So when you look at that through a baseball lens, it’s knowing where and when to use your fastballs and leveraging your best off-speed weapons to do the most damage against the hitter."

“I think the history of baseball suggests that when you’re in disadvantaged counts, your best strike pitch is a fastball from an ability standpoint and I don’t think that’s true,” he added. “I think pitchers are able to leverage off-speed weapons, if not similarly or slightly above, with some certain pitch types and depending on feel and all that, that can be a learned skill. So as long as strike-throwing is in line and our process stats are in line, our ability to leverage our best pitches in and around the zone is vital to the success of our pitching staff.”

“[He] gives you a little bit more of a concrete plan,” Pivetta said this spring. “(Bailey) gives you the right amount of information and it’s very structured about how they give it to you so that you’re not getting bogged down by everything because that can get overwhelming as a player.”
 

rodderick

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Some interesting quotes from Bailey about pitching philosophy. Sox starters have struck out 37 batters and issued just one walk. Thinking about fastball usage, there will be a change, but not a drastic one: Last year, the Giants threw the fewest four-seamers and two-seamers in the league, accounting for 42.6 percent of their pitch mix. Meanwhile, the Red Sox ranked 17th throwing four-seamers and two-seamers 47.7 percent of the time.

“Every pitch we make in a game is a bet,” Bailey said over the weekend. “You’re trying to drive a positive outcome. Off-speed pitches generally reduce damage and generate more swing and miss. So every pitch we throw is a business decision. Every pitch we throw is a bet that we’re betting on decreasing damage and reducing contact. So most times, you want to leverage your best off-speed weapons, understanding that you know there is room to use your fastballs when needed.”

“The history of baseball suggests that fastballs in general have the most damage attached to them,” Bailey said. “So, looking at some fastball rates from last year, there’s some low-hanging fruit there and leveraging our weapons that generate weak contact and swing-and-miss more often.”

“We speak a lot about the fastball in general being a jab and equating that to boxing,” he said. “If you’re going 12 rounds or eight rounds, you’re not going to win by throwing jabs the whole time. The damage is done by throwing your haymakers in your best sequences. Jabs need to be located supremely to do any damage. So when you look at that through a baseball lens, it’s knowing where and when to use your fastballs and leveraging your best off-speed weapons to do the most damage against the hitter."

“I think the history of baseball suggests that when you’re in disadvantaged counts, your best strike pitch is a fastball from an ability standpoint and I don’t think that’s true,” he added. “I think pitchers are able to leverage off-speed weapons, if not similarly or slightly above, with some certain pitch types and depending on feel and all that, that can be a learned skill. So as long as strike-throwing is in line and our process stats are in line, our ability to leverage our best pitches in and around the zone is vital to the success of our pitching staff.”

“[He] gives you a little bit more of a concrete plan,” Pivetta said this spring. “(Bailey) gives you the right amount of information and it’s very structured about how they give it to you so that you’re not getting bogged down by everything because that can get overwhelming as a player.”
That's a great look at Bailey's philosophy, but I don't think combining four seamers and two seamers is all that useful. I look at Bello as a guy whose four-seamer got crushed last year, and then he threw none of them in his first start (even though he threw plenty of sinkers). Same with Houck going two-seam heavy with, again, zero four-seamers. I think that's meaningful. On the other hand, they didn't scrap it for Pivetta as his four-seamer has a ton of rise and carry and can elicit swings and misses.
 

Yo La Tengo

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That's a great look at Bailey's philosophy, but I don't think combining four seamers and two seamers is all that useful. I look at Bello as a guy whose four-seamer got crushed last year, and then he threw none of them in his first start (even though he threw plenty of sinkers). Same with Houck going two-seam heavy with, again, zero four-seamers. I think that's meaningful. On the other hand, they didn't scrap it for Pivetta as his four-seamer has a ton of rise and carry and can elicit swings and misses.
I agree but couldn't quickly find further breakdown between 2-seam and 4-seam as compared to the Giants last year. The A's are terrible against fastballs (and most other pitches) so it will be interesting to see what the usage looks like the next few days.
Big picture, I think the 4-seamer at the top of the zone was a trend in response to adjustments made by hitters on balls down, along with some swing plane trends. I wonder if some pitchers started throwing 4 seamers even though they were not great pitches. My speculation is that some of this will weed out those pitchers who adopted the fastballs-up approach with poor results (as you noted, such as Bello).
 

donutogre

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One walk first time through the rotation is absolutely thrilling. I've been down on the pitching staff, but I will have to eat some crow if things continue in this vein. Obviously there will be ups and downs, but this was an extremely encouraging start!
 

rodderick

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I agree but couldn't quickly find further breakdown between 2-seam and 4-seam as compared to the Giants last year. The A's are terrible against fastballs (and most other pitches) so it will be interesting to see what the usage looks like the next few days.
Big picture, I think the 4-seamer at the top of the zone was a trend in response to adjustments made by hitters on balls down, along with some swing plane trends. I wonder if some pitchers started throwing 4 seamers even though they were not great pitches. My speculation is that some of this will weed out those pitchers who adopted the fastballs-up approach with poor results (as you noted, such as Bello).
Yeah, I also think a lot of that is context. Even with what Bailey said about not believing you need to throw fastballs to climb back into counts, Houck was painting the strike zone last night, it won't always work that way with a guy with his command, so odds are he'll have outings that are more fastball centric (even though I still believe they will focus on the two seamers and cutters with him). But speaking strictly of four-seam fastball usage, the 2024 Red Sox are currently dead last in the league, at about 10% (the Giants are 29th). Couldn't find the data for 2023 to contrast, though.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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“I think the history of baseball suggests that when you’re in disadvantaged counts, your best strike pitch is a fastball from an ability standpoint and I don’t think that’s true,” he added. “I think pitchers are able to leverage off-speed weapons, if not similarly or slightly above, with some certain pitch types and depending on feel and all that, that can be a learned skill. So as long as strike-throwing is in line and our process stats are in line, our ability to leverage our best pitches in and around the zone is vital to the success of our pitching staff.”
Wow, it makes me happy to see this. "Off speed pitches for strikes when down in the count" has been my quick-and-dirty go-to for pitcher evaluation for a long time. It takes both skill and commitment. While I've never seen a breakdown of which pitchers do it regularly, it *seems* like it correlates with success. Pitchers that don't do it *can* succeed. Pitchers that actually do it are likely to succeed.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
53,997
UPDATING:

Yeah, this is a nice start:

Bello: 5 IP, 5 H, 2/0 K/W
Pivetta: 6 IP, 3 H, 10/0 K/W
Crawford: 6 IP, 3 H, 7/1 K/W
Whitlock: 5 IP, 3 H, 8/0 K/W
Houck: 6 IP, 3 H, 10/0 K/W

Insane start.

Outside our #1 starter it's 23 IP, 12 H, 35 K, 1 BB
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
24,577
This is as good as we ever could have hoped for in terms of the first time through the rotation. Obviously they won’t keep this up but it’s a great start.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,029
Wow, it makes me happy to see this. "Off speed pitches for strikes when down in the count" has been my quick-and-dirty go-to for pitcher evaluation for a long time. It takes both skill and commitment. While I've never seen a breakdown of which pitchers do it regularly, it *seems* like it correlates with success. Pitchers that don't do it *can* succeed. Pitchers that actually do it are likely to succeed.
It makes sense. A batter up in the count is going to try to sit fastball. It's one of the few times they can get comfortable and look for a particular pitch expecting it to come. Being able to upset that expectation makes the lives of batters way more difficult.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
37,318
Hingham, MA
For sure, but keeping that walk total down is going to go a long way towards keeping your starters in the game through that 5th inning and beyond.
100% this. If I had to pick a single stat that I think will dictate how this season goes, it is starters innings pitched.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
30,456
It makes sense. A batter up in the count is going to try to sit fastball. It's one of the few times they can get comfortable and look for a particular pitch expecting it to come. Being able to upset that expectation makes the lives of batters way more difficult.
And not just in that at bat.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
I think we should take a moment to appreciate the bullpen as well.

16 IP, 21K, 5 BB, 3 ER.

Remove Joely, and that becomes: 14 IP, 19K, 5B BB, 1 ER.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2006
6,029
I think we should take a moment to appreciate the bullpen as well.

16 IP, 21K, 5 BB, 3 ER.

Remove Joely, and that becomes: 14 IP, 19K, 5B BB, 1 ER.
Yeah, I was feeling pretty bullish on the pitching staff going into the season but this is more than I could have guessed. Bailey is a wizard, and good on the pitchers for being humble enough to work with him and make the adjustments. What's even wilder is we had three guys go 6 innings all while staying under 85 pitches. In another era they would've squeezed another inning out of all three of them if they could.