Sunday, October 8, 2023

Newsletter Excerpt, October 8, 2023 -- "Thinking Inside the Box"


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.

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"Rob Thomson, by the way, did exactly what John Schneider did, lifting his #3 starter early -- we can quibble about whether Berrios is the Jays’ #2 or #3, but either way, Suarez has been the exact same pitcher as Berrios this year, and was better last year -- and turning to his bullpen, which pitched wonderfully. The difference is Thomson didn’t mess around with his back-end starters, going right to a good relief pitcher instead, and getting out of the fourth inning unscathed.

"Bruce Bochy and Brandon Hyde also lifted their starters before getting out of the fifth, though by definition only one of them could win after doing so. In all of these cases, the relief pitchers who came in pitched very well. The decisions were right in the moment -- save Schneider’s choice of Yusei Kikuchi -- and right in the aftermath.

"This is baseball in 2023, where every team is carrying nine relief pitchers and finding guys like Orion Kerkering to steal souls in the seventh inning of a two-run game. It’s not up to Schneider or Thomson or Bochy or Hyde to sate the desires of people who think baseball evolution should have stopped with Game Seven of the 1991 World Series. Their job is to win, not to pander. Until MLB gets serious about changing pitcher usage and development, rather than just winning a press conference by announcing the shortstop has to play left-handed, these are the rules of engagement."