20

Olney: My new MLB rule — four pitchers per nine innings, max

Olney: My new MLB rule — four pitchers per nine innings, max

Over the past 18 months, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been all but begging major league players for ideas and input on ways to make the product better. He seems ready to discuss even radical ideas, whether it’s some restrictions on defensive shifts, a pitch clock or maybe — eventually — an electronic strike zone.

Here’s a fundamental change that would improve the game on many levels: Limit managers to the use of four pitchers per nine innings, with exceptions built in for injuries and blowouts.cheap nfl jerseys from china

Major league baseball desperately needs to get off the growing front-office addiction to relief pitchers, which is helping to destroy important components of the game.

Among those: the essential pre-eminence of starting pitchers, who need to be marquee-worthy not only for the teams and their marketing departments but also for the players’ union; the scoring of runs by means other than a home run; and batters making contact and putting the ball in play.20

None of this is meant to challenge the analytical wisdom behind the parade of relievers overrunning the sport. It’s been demonstrated beyond any doubt that there are statistical advantages in the growing number of reliever/batter matchups and in the strategy of yanking the starting pitcher before he’s exposed to the opposing lineup a third time. Smart people are making smart decisions to create effective seven- and eight-man bullpens.

But this trend is affecting the game in ways that will never attract the young fans baseball wants and could also alienate longtime fans.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Few starting pitchers concern themselves with getting through five or six innings these days. Rather, they’re increasingly trained to throw as hard as they can, and when their work is finished, they’re followed by relay teams of relievers who also throw really, really hard. The number of pitches of 96-plus mph has more than tripled in a span of just four years, and quite frankly, a lot of hitters — especially older hitters — are getting crushed.