This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.
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"In just four years, the number of times pitchers were called upon to pitch for three straight days or more dropped nearly in half, from 437 to 233. This is a radical change in gameplay, as teams have developed relievers for maximum effort, loaded their rosters with those relief pitchers, and never asked too much of any one of them. These appearances have dropped even more sharply as a percentage of overall relief appearances, certainly relative to the previous few decades. As starters take on fewer and fewer innings, and individual relief appearances get shorter while rising in volume, these instances grow increasingly rare."