Comments on: Using 11+ Pitchers In One Game This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Neil L Tue, 14 Sep 2010 01:10:23 +0000 @22
John A, at risk of under-appreciating your research, aren't there two factors at work here?

Managers, and the pitching coaches they hire, are under increasing pressure to appear to be micro-managing the game. So they make more pitching changes more than ever before. Off the top of my head, Tony La Russa comes to mind.

The ever-increasing specialization of relief pitchers.... RH set-up man, LH long relief, etc as well as the use of statistics.

By: John Autin Mon, 13 Sep 2010 18:34:32 +0000 @19
Thomas -- Nice work on those "0 outs" games. That Cards-Reds game finished 14-13, with a total of 36 hits and 13 walks, and took 3:41 to play 9 innings. The last 5 half-innings saw 8 mid-inning pitching changes ... and it was the first game of a doubleheader.

In his Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James floated a few rules changes to deal with unexpected and unwelcome developments in the game. To counter the explosion in pitching changes, he proposed that mid-inning pitching changes be restricted to (a) one "freebie" per game, and otherwise (b) after the pitcher who started the inning has given up a run.(FN)

Mind you, James wrote this at least 10 years ago, and the trend has only gotten worse. At 10-year intervals, here are the average number of 5-pitcher games per team per season, counting only games of 9 innings or less:
1980 -- 7.3
1990 -- 13.5
2000 -- 27.6
2010 -- 34.5 (prorated to full season)

Or to put it another way ... In 1980, teams averaged just 1.2 regulation *wins* while using 5+ pitchers. This year, the prorated average is 16.3 such wins.

Only a fraction of this enormous change can be laid to the difference in scoring levels -- 4.29 RPG in 1980, 4.41 RPG in 2010, a difference of 2.7%. And some can be blamed on the fact that starting pitchers don't go as deep as they used to -- but that evolution has been grossly exaggerated by looking only at the decline in complete games. The average SP outing in 1980 did last longer than the 2010 average, but by how much? Take a guess. Ready? Here's that earth-shattering change: Exactly one out. (6.33 IP in 1980, 6.00 IP in 2010.)

The rest of the explosion in pitching changes is due to ... what? Mass hysteria?

P.S. For whatever it's worth, the average relief outing in 1980 lasted 1.7 IP; the 2010 average is 1.0.


By: Neil L Sun, 12 Sep 2010 14:17:19 +0000 Sorry.... Cardinals game was last of season....oops!

By: Neil L Sun, 12 Sep 2010 14:16:01 +0000 @11 @12
John A, thanks for doing the legwork. Vance Law and Doug Dascenzo, hmmm.....

What the heck was LaRussa thinking in that Pirates-Cardinals game? Figures it would be La Russa! At least all 1500 Pirates' spectators had plenty of chances to do their trips to the beer concessions.{lame attempt at humor}

Again, though, John A, as expected, both games were with (presumably) expanded pitching rosters so the next-day's starter was spared an appearance.

By: Thomas Sun, 12 Sep 2010 02:58:58 +0000 On a closely related note, this game ( holds the record for most pitchers not recording an out with 6 (4 for stl, 2 for cin). St Louis was one of 4 teams ever to have 4 pitchers record 0 outs in a game, most recently by Seattle in 1998 ( in a game where their starter went 8 innings then they used 4 relievers who did not record an out in the 9th and lost the game!

By: John Autin Sat, 11 Sep 2010 21:32:26 +0000 (Correction: Ramon Ortiz did win the playoff game, but merely finished the previous 10-pitcher game.)

By: John Autin Sat, 11 Sep 2010 21:29:58 +0000 ... but to answer the question Neal actually asked:
The most pitchers used in any 9-inning game (1920-present) was 10, done 3 times, twice in 2007:

-- One was a meaningless game on the last day of the season between the Cards and Pirates in Pittsburgh, both long since eliminated. Tony LaRussa managed to use 10 pitchers while allowing just 5 runs; he made 5 mid-inning pitching changes in the 5th through 8th innings. The Pirates crowd must have showered him with love.

-- The other was a Sept. 7, 2007 game between the Padres and Rockies in Denver, a game with actual pennant-race implications. The NL West race was wide open, with just 5 games separating 1st-place LA and the 4th-place Rockies; the Pads were a game back in 2nd, but had lost 2 straight. Colorado started Elmer Dessens (must have been an emergency), who lasted just 2.1 IP. The game was close until the bottom of the 8th, when the Rox broke it open with 5 runs en route to a 10-4 win. As you may recall, Arizona went on to the win the division, the Dodgers faded to 4th, and the Pad and Rox tied for the wild-card, setting up a 1-game playoff, which Colorado won, 9-8, with a 3-run rally off Trevor Hoffman in the bottom of the 13th. (The Rox used 10 pitchers in that game, too; both times, Ramon Ortiz got the win.)

By: John Autin Sat, 11 Sep 2010 20:52:35 +0000 Hey, Neal L. -- From 1920 through yesterday, the most pitchers used in a 9-inning, non-September game was 8, last done on August 2, 2006 by the Cardinals in a 16-8 loss to the Phils. They also used pitcher Jason Marquis as a PH, though he did not pitch.

It was the 6th straight loss for the Cards, who nonetheless maintained a 3.5-game lead in the NL Central. The Cards had a 7-game lead with 13 games left, then lost 7 straight and 8 of 9, as their lead shrunk to a half-game (over Houston) with 4 games to go, including a makeup game (Houston had 3 games left). But the Astros dropped 2 of 3, and the Cards won 2 of 3 to clinch the division at 83-78, so they didn't need to play the makeup game. St. Louis went on to win the World Series, setting a non-strike-year record for the fewest regular-season wins by a WS winner.

By: Anon Sat, 11 Sep 2010 20:50:43 +0000 I watched that 2009 Pads/Dbacks game from about the 7th inning on - 18 innings settled by a Mark Reynolds HR. The final "pitcher" for the Padres was Josh Wilson, a backup infielder who had been released by the DBacks earlier in the year. Just for fun, he had pitched in a game earlier in the year FOR the Dbacks and then pitched against them in that 18 inning game. He also threw an inning for the Rays in 2007 so he has appeared on the mound for 3 teams. . .

One other note on that game - the DBacks' bullpen threw 9 innings of no-hit ball to close the game. . . .

By: Neil L. Sat, 11 Sep 2010 19:06:49 +0000 @11 @12 @13

John A, didn't mean to suggest that you should do the research yourself. Thank you for trying.

Agreed that the database should have one more filter to make minor trivia searches possible.

"The Giants used 6 pitchers in last night's 1-0, 9-inning win over San Diego."

This is really interesting. What about the maximum number of pitchers used in a 9-inning game? And sorted to as how late in the season the multi-pitcher game occurred? Only in a pennant race, after callups, would the maximum occur, I think.

"It was the 50th 1-0 game in MLB this year -- 8 more than any year since 1992."

It is the year of the pitchers..... who knows why.