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Old School vs New School


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Chuckster70
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I wanted to start this thread about our opinions of baseball today versus how maybe we viewed it 20-30 years ago.  

I started thinking about how pitchers are used today, where the manager for most pitchers ask the average pitcher to give the team about 5 innings.  Obviously there are stud pitchers out there that give their team close to 7 innings per outing, but that is the outlier and not the expectation.  So if you think back to 20 or 30 years ago pitchers were often getting into and out of trouble in their outings.  You would see a pitcher allow a couple of base runners in the 5th or 6th inning and then get out of the jam or even give up a run or two, get out of it and then come back out the next inning to pitch.  It certainly feels like that doesn't happen anymore.  Sure for a lot of teams you will see a pitcher in the first 3 or so innings give up a couple of runs and they get to continue to pitch.  But almost never does a pitcher give up a couple in the 5th and they are given the 6th to go get outs. 

Maybe some of you disagree with this but it is just how I see the game.  So my question is this, 20 or 30 years ago when a pitcher got into trouble in the 5th or 6th innings were you pissed off that the manager didn't have someone warming up and clamoring to have the pitcher pulled?  I don't remember feeling that way.  I remember expecting the starter to go 7 innings.  Watching a game today it feels like I am EXPECTING a pitching warming up the minute a starter gets into trouble from the 4th inning on. 

I am wondering if that has changed our perceptions of good outings or bad outings.  Has that changed our expectation as a fan of what we expect from managers or pitchers?  Does it make us blame the manager more than we once did?  Does it make us think a starting pitcher is worse than we once did?  I am not saying this just as Angel fans, but throughout baseball.  Curious what people think.  

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39 minutes ago, Stradling said:

I wanted to start this thread about our opinions of baseball today versus how maybe we viewed it 20-30 years ago.  

I started thinking about how pitchers are used today, where the manager for most pitchers ask the average pitcher to give the team about 5 innings.  Obviously there are stud pitchers out there that give their team close to 7 innings per outing, but that is the outlier and not the expectation.  So if you think back to 20 or 30 years ago pitchers were often getting into and out of trouble in their outings.  You would see a pitcher allow a couple of base runners in the 5th or 6th inning and then get out of the jam or even give up a run or two, get out of it and then come back out the next inning to pitch.  It certainly feels like that doesn't happen anymore.  Sure for a lot of teams you will see a pitcher in the first 3 or so innings give up a couple of runs and they get to continue to pitch.  But almost never does a pitcher give up a couple in the 5th and they are given the 6th to go get outs.  Maybe some of you disagree with this but it is just how I see the game.  So my question is this, 20 or 30 years ago when a pitcher got into trouble in the 5th or 6th innings were you pissed off that the manager didn't have someone warming up and clamoring to have the pitcher pulled?  I don't remember feeling that way.  I remember expecting the starter to go 7 innings.  Watching a game today it feels like I am EXPECTING a pitching warming up the minute a starter gets into trouble from the 4th inning on.  I am wondering if that has changed our perceptions of good outings or bad outings.  Has that changed our expectation as a fan of what we expect from managers or pitchers?  Does it make us blame the manager more than we once did?  Does it make us think a starting pitcher is worse than we once did?  I am not saying this just as Angel fans, but throughout baseball.  Curious what people think.  

I never thought or even think that it is a bad idea to have someone warming up. To be able to have the flexibility to bring someone in at a moments notice, so to speak, is good. But I definitely think that today's game lacks the excitement that you get watching a pitcher overcome adversity and battle. Plus some guys excel in these situations. The problem is that the current crop of pitchers have never been placed in this situation and may not be able to handle it.

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1 hour ago, Stradling said:

Obviously there are stud pitchers out there that give their team close to 7 innings per outing

LOL

In all seriousness, it's a good question, Strad.  I really don't remember when guys only going 5 innings became a thing.  It seems to get worse every year.  The game has just evolved, I guess.  We used to have guys going 3 innings to get a save and that changed too.  I don't know that it's an old school vs. new school thing. 

Guys throw harder now.  Seems like more guys end up getting TJ surgery too.  It all factors in some how.

And I don't even think it's a question of pitchers not wanting to go deeper into games - it's more about managers and front office policies that don't allow them to.  Again, I don't know when that changed either.

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12 minutes ago, True Grich said:

LOL

In all seriousness, it's a good question, Strad.  I really don't remember when guys only going 5 innings became a thing.  It seems to get worse every year.  The game has just evolved, I guess.  We used to have guys going 3 innings to get a save and that changed too.  I don't know that it's an old school vs. new school thing. 

Guys throw harder now.  Seems like more guys end up getting TJ surgery too.  It all factors in some how.

And I don't even think it's a question of pitchers not wanting to go deeper into games - it's more about managers and front office policies that don't allow them to.  Again, I don't know when that changed either.

I agree with everything you wrote.  I remember the multi inning save, but just barely do I remember guys like Gossage getting 3 inning saves, to me that is pushing my memory as a fan.  For me what I was getting at is as the game evolves has it changed how we as fans view it?  I know for a fact that if Mike Witt got in trouble in the 5th inning I wasn't pissed at Mauch for not having a guy ready in the pen.  Also if he gave up 3 in the 5th inning and finished the inning, I am sure I would have expected him to come out for the 6th inning.  Could you see any scenario (minus a possible blow out) where that happens today?  

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11 minutes ago, Stradling said:

Could you see any scenario (minus a possible blow out) where that happens today

Not today.  

What’s funny is how some people are now calling Maddon “old school” but he doesn’t manage his pitching staff that way.

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11 minutes ago, Stradling said:

I agree with everything you wrote.  I remember the multi inning save, but just barely do I remember guys like Gossage getting 3 inning saves, to me that is pushing my memory as a fan.  For me what I was getting at is as the game evolves has it changed how we as fans view it?  I know for a fact that if Mike Witt got in trouble in the 5th inning I wasn't pissed at Mauch for not having a guy ready in the pen.  Also if he gave up 3 in the 5th inning and finished the inning, I am sure I would have expected him to come out for the 6th inning.  Could you see any scenario (minus a possible blow out) where that happens today?  

I think what you said is valid. Mauch did leave guys in too long. I think this is just manager skill, to know what your pitchers can do and what they cant. This is the problem or weakness that many managers have in today's game, they stick to a pattern and dont evaluate each situation and the personnel involved before making a decision. They stick to their matrix and forget about the human element.

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I'm all for analytics helping inform decisions, but an actual person still has to make the decision. If you take away a manager's ability to make the ultimate decision then you might be asking for trouble.  Give him the freedom to fail too. 

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1 hour ago, Stradling said:

Hell, could you imagine Finley getting pulled out after 5 innings?  I can't.  Lackey, no.  Weaver? Probably not.  

I can only go back 20 years as a fan and I totally agree with pretty all you guys have said. One of the most interesting and fun things to watch when I got into baseball was watching Lackey get out of a bases loaded with no outs jam. Which he usually did, then the bellowing confidence he got from that meant the next inning was a quick 1,2,3. You just don't see that sort of thing very often now, and that's a shame for me because it was a really fun part of each match-up.

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I cannot even think of the last time a manager walked out to get the Starter on the first trip of the inning.  

Maybe Scioscia going out to talk to Lackey back in 2009?

Baker in 2002?

These days the Pitching "Coach" makes the first trip, so there is no discussion possible for the Pitcher and Manager.

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42 minutes ago, True Grich said:

I'm all for analytics helping inform decisions, but an actual person still has to make the decision. If you take away a manager's ability to make the ultimate decision then you might be asking for trouble.  Give him the freedom to fail too. 

I miss the old days, when managers made decisions on their instinct, and got the players to do what was best for the team, like monty burns there.

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2 hours ago, Angel Oracle said:

There is also the whole third time through the order thing.   So many pitchers aren’t allowed to start a third time through the order.

It’d be interesting to compare stats the first two times through the order, vs a third time.

Yeah. Take the guy out who is keeping the game close, because it is the 3rd time thru the order, and bring in a guy that can't pitch a 1-2-3 inning more than 2-3 times a year.  Especially worse when your bullpen is Arson Squad quality.  Some starters pitch better as the game goes on. Well, at least in the past they did.

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Working out of a jam was a big part of a pitcher's skill set. Almost as important as their repertoire. It reflects both the mental resourcefulness of the pitcher and the manager/pitching coach understanding of each pitcher's skill under pressure. As well each pitcher is different. Some thrive in difficult situations, others melt down 

When 6 innings or more was expected, pitchers sequenced their pitches accordingly, not burning themselves up early and realizing they would face the lineup three times or more. Now many managers freak out in fear if a pitcher pitches deeper into the game. Expecting bad things to happen becomes a self fulfilling prophecy for pitchers too when facing adversity in the middle innings. 

Each pitcher is different, physically and mentally. The manager can't treat them all the same. If expectations to go longer was made more of a priority you would eventually see them do that. No reason the pitch count can't go past a hundred on a regular basis. 

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in the past, it actually mattered who got on and who was coming up.  

If it were the 6-9 or 1-2 guys in the order there would be very little danger of any of them hitting a hr.  Now a good lineup will hit 100 more hrs than the best lineups in the 1990s.  

Let's not totally overplay the difference btw.  

right now, the league avg for a pitcher's start is 5.1 innings.  In 1990 it was 6 innings.  In 1970, it was 7 innings.  It's only really started to erode over the last 5-6 years.  In 2014, the avg was still 6 innings.  

on a relative basis, losing 2/3rds of an inning per start, per pitcher is actually a lot to occur in just 5 years.  But it's not like guys went from averaging 7 innings and then to 5 in a few years.  

to me it's actually as much about guys now throwing at max effort for as long as they can and the ability to use metrics to preempt a collapse.  

it's not just one thing that has taken some of the enjoyment out of game but a combo of things that all occurred because of the others.  The shift, more walks (way more), more strikeouts, more hrs or overall less balls in play.  Fewer steals.  

pitchers not getting deep into games doesn't bother me as much as the lack of emphasis on speed and contact.  Yes, they're related but a starter going 5 doesn't bother me nearly as much as seeing a game where each side walks 7 times and whiffs 12 while getting 4 or 5 hits each and 2-3 of those are hrs.  

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6 hours ago, Taylor said:

I'm a fan of sabermetrics in general, but in many ways, advanced stats have ruined the the natural flow of baseball.

This.

I think baseball peaked in the 70s and 80s and, due to various factors, has declined since the 90s. Sabermetrics has led to a shift from 80s Cardinals style to three-true-outcomes, which is far less interesting from a watching perspective. This was compounded by the steroids-fueled shit-show of the 90s and 00s, which led to the idea that the long-ball was sexy. And then we have skyrocketing salaries that have led to embarrassing performances like Chris Davis and the latter-day versions of Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera, and perhaps a further remove from the working class fans who saw the top player contracts multiply tenfold in the span of a decade or two (1990ish to 2010ish), while their own salaries stagnated.

Let us also mention the increase of Tommy John Surgery, and the apathy of many owners who are more concerned with optimizing profits than winning ball games. That has always been the case, with plenty of "loser franchises" throughout baseball history, but it seems more extreme now and one would hope that MLB would learn a thing or two from the NFL, which has much greater parity; it seems that most NFL franchises end up being pretty good for at least a few years of every decade, even if there still are better and worse franchises. Meaning, nothing wrong with having better and worse franchises, but within reason.

I don't think we can place the blame on any one factor, but rather see it as a reflection of societal changes and cultural decay. But this isn't the political forum, so I'll leave that mostly unspoken. 

Oh yeah, I still love baseball, but it is because I love it that I don't like the trends I've seen over the last thirty years.

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12 hours ago, Stradling said:

I wanted to start this thread about our opinions of baseball today versus how maybe we viewed it 20-30 years ago.  

I started thinking about how pitchers are used today, where the manager for most pitchers ask the average pitcher to give the team about 5 innings.  Obviously there are stud pitchers out there that give their team close to 7 innings per outing, but that is the outlier and not the expectation.  So if you think back to 20 or 30 years ago pitchers were often getting into and out of trouble in their outings.  You would see a pitcher allow a couple of base runners in the 5th or 6th inning and then get out of the jam or even give up a run or two, get out of it and then come back out the next inning to pitch.  It certainly feels like that doesn't happen anymore.  Sure for a lot of teams you will see a pitcher in the first 3 or so innings give up a couple of runs and they get to continue to pitch.  But almost never does a pitcher give up a couple in the 5th and they are given the 6th to go get outs.  Maybe some of you disagree with this but it is just how I see the game.  So my question is this, 20 or 30 years ago when a pitcher got into trouble in the 5th or 6th innings were you pissed off that the manager didn't have someone warming up and clamoring to have the pitcher pulled?  I don't remember feeling that way.  I remember expecting the starter to go 7 innings.  Watching a game today it feels like I am EXPECTING a pitching warming up the minute a starter gets into trouble from the 4th inning on.  I am wondering if that has changed our perceptions of good outings or bad outings.  Has that changed our expectation as a fan of what we expect from managers or pitchers?  Does it make us blame the manager more than we once did?  Does it make us think a starting pitcher is worse than we once did?  I am not saying this just as Angel fans, but throughout baseball.  Curious what people think.  

I think you're looking at this the wrong way. 20-30 years ago Percival was a stud with a rocket fastball that hit 95. Now everyone has 6 arms out of the pen that sit at 95. The alternatives out of the pen are better.

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20 hours ago, Mark PT said:

I think what you said is valid. Mauch did leave guys in too long. I think this is just manager skill, to know what your pitchers can do and what they cant. This is the problem or weakness that many managers have in today's game, they stick to a pattern and dont evaluate each situation and the personnel involved before making a decision. They stick to their matrix and forget about the human element.

Except for that one damn time in 86, i’m still pissed about that! 

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2 hours ago, itsKnoppUitsme said:

Except for that one damn time in 86, i’m still pissed about that! 

I am guessing you are referring to the Henderson ab.  What makes that worse is when Henderson came to bat, Mauch told the pitching coach , {don't like this. This guy has slider bat speed.]  That and Donnie Moore relied on his slider made for a bad situation. I think Mauch pretty much made his mind up to go with what got them there.

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1 hour ago, greginpsca said:

I am guessing you are referring to the Henderson ab.  What makes that worse is when Henderson came to bat, Mauch told the pitching coach , {don't like this. This guy has slider bat speed.]  That and Donnie Moore relied on his slider made for a bad situation. I think Mauch pretty much made his mind up to go with what got them there.

Gary Lucas was the pitcher that replaced Witt who was still dominating at that point.

The announcer stated that Gary Lucas has not hit a batter this year and he promptly plunks the next batter.

You know the rest.

 

 

 

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I remember back in the 60's, and 70's, when they use to have pitching duals between the best pitchers in the MLB that wouldn't end at the end of the 5th inning. 

I miss those old pitching duals where the starting pitchers pitched deep into games, occasionally even well into extra innings, sometimes 14 or 15 innings or more. They sometimes threw well over 200 pitches in those game. In 1963 Spahn (227 pitches) vs. Marichal (201 pitches) matched up in a 16 inning game that the Giants won 1-0. Both pitchers went all the way. Nolan Ryan, when he was an Angel, often threw over 200 pitches in a game too.

In todays game it's almost considered a quality start if the pitcher can get into the 5th inning and throw less than 80 pitches. 

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