A local beat reporter
wrote a few days ago that while Rangers starters were averaging 103.1 pitches
per outing, the highest total in the American League (and third highest in
baseball), it was “not to suggest the
Rangers are overworking their starting pitchers. It’s more the opposite. The Rangers are getting their starters to go
longer and throw more pitches, though, they are getting a wholly more efficient
performance since the club decided to push starters a little harder.“
To support the point
he notes that Texas was averaging 16.5 pitches per inning, in line with the American
League average, evidence along with the pitch counts of how deep the club’s
starters were getting into games.
All of that was
What the story did
not mention was that Rangers’ starters were throwing 4.10 pitches per batter
faced, the worst mark in baseball.
including today’s Scott Feldman start, the mark has crept up to 4.15, still the
highest in the league.
That’s not to
suggest the starters haven’t been very strong. They’ve been outstanding, and are the reason the
team has won as many games as it has.
But what’s happened
the last two days in Yankee Stadium has driven home a statistical point that
seems worth noting. New York is predictably
making Texas pitchers work – Yankee hitters are extraordinarily patient and fundamentally
sound. But they’re not alone. Rangers’ starters’ opponents are working
deeper counts than any other team’s starters’ opponents.
Meanwhile, Texas hitters see only 3.64 pitches per plate
appearance. The only offense in baseball
that sees fewer pitches per trip is San Francisco’s.
When the gap begins to narrow between those two composite numbers,
it’s going to feel like we’re another step closer to being where this team is
capable of being.
Pitches per Batter Faced, Highest, American League Starting Pitchers:
1. Rich Harden, TEX (4.51)
6. Colby Lewis, TEX (4.23)
8. Scott Feldman, TEX (4.20)
10. Matt Harrison, TEX (4.11)
45. C.J. Wilson, TEX (3.75)
Again, this isn’t a hatchet job on the Rangers rotation, which I have as much confidence in as any bunch the club has put together in the last 20 years. Just something worth noting, maybe, particularly when laid against the what’s going on with the Texas offense, which just isn’t working counts.
By the way, Wilson is 22nd lowest in the league – impressive, and given his history, surprising.
But not as surprising as the fact that the only hitter on the entire Texas roster (with the exception of Matt Treanor) seeing as many as four pitches per plate appearance is the last player any of us could have ever nominated for being the early king, on this team, of getting deep into pitch counts:
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(c) Jamey Newberg