Hyde's being careful with pitch counts for Orioles' starters - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Hyde’s being careful with pitch counts for Orioles’ starters

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon


BALTIMORE—Orioles starters are throwing fewer pitches this season. Some of it is because of short starts, and because manager Brandon Hyde wants to err on the side of caution.

In the Orioles’ first 36 games, no starter has thrown more than 100 pitches. Wednesday night’s starter, Andrew Cashner reached that number when he threw seven innings on April 23. On Wednesday, Cashner threw 104 pitches in six strong innings against the Red Sox.

It’s a difference from last year when Cashner, who started for the eighth time, exceeded 100 pitches in five of his first seven starts.

Dylan Bundy threw 96 pitches while throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, the longest for any starter this season. He allowed three hits to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Last season, Bundy threw more than 100 pitches in two of his first seven starts, and topped out at 121 in a complete-game win over the Chicago White Sox on May 24.

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Dan Straily, another experienced starter who joined the Orioles early in the season, hasn’t thrown more than 98 pitches in his six starts. Last year, the threw more than 100 in three of his first six starts with the Miami Marlins.

Hyde says there are several factors he takes into account.

“It’s traffic on the bases, stressful innings,” Hyde said. “Cash’s last start in Chicago, where it was right around 100 (99), and it was only through four, but that fourth inning was 30-something pitches, and he was pitching out of traffic the entire inning. That definitely factors into it.

“If they’re breezing through the game, and there’s a lot of low-stress innings, especially later on, I look to extend guys a little bit. I’m not going to overextend a guy that is continuing to pitch stressful inning after stressful inning.”

David Hess, who hadn’t yet been called up last year at this time, was pulled after 82 pitches in his first start on April 1 when he threw 6 1/3 hitless innings at Toronto.

“A hundred’s not like a limit for me,” Hyde said before Wednesday night’s 12-inning loss to the Red Sox. “It’s just what’s happened so far. I don’t put a number on anything. More, we watch with our eyes and talk between innings, check in with guys and monitor stress level of the innings.”

It’s rare to see a starting pitcher throw more than 120 pitches.

“I think it’s something you definitely monitor,” Hyde says of pitch count. “You definitely want to keep guys healthy, and I would like to have Cashner and Bundy and these guys make 35 starts, so that’s something to always keep in mind.

“I just want to protect guys and especially in our situation where I want guys to have success, and I want to have guys finish throughout the year. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that happens the best way we can. I think there are certain times where guys can get extended , especially if you can get them a day or two rest more than they would normally get following a start.”

Bundy has two complete games in his career. Cashner has three, but none since September 15, 2014. Straily, Hess and John Means, who is a starter for the first time in the majors this season, don’t have any. Alex Cobb, who is on the injured list, has four, and the Orioles’ most recent on August 18, 2018.

“If a guy’s cruising along, I’d love to see him continue,” Hyde said. “I love complete games. I love starters going deep into games. Hopefully, we have a few of those this year.”

Bleier strong in rehab: Richard Bleier was happy with his inning at Class-A Frederick in his initial rehab outing on Tuesday. Bleier allowed a run on two hits, striking out one and throwing 14 pitches.

Bleier has been on the injured list since April 10 because of left shoulder stiffness.

“I feel pretty good. The shoulder feels pretty good,” Bleier said. “I’m just trying to get back to competitive pitching.”

Bleier is scheduled to throw an inning for Double-A Bowie on Friday.

“I’m happy with the pitches I made,” Bleier said of Tuesday’s outing. “I definitely didn’t make all of them. I gave up a run. At that point, I had the loss, and then I got the win.”

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    May 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Cue all the know it alls whining about pitch counts.

    “We didn’t care about that back in the day!” Blah-blah-blah.

  2. Bhoffman1

    May 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Rich what do you know about Mason McCoy. He has four hits tonight for Bowie. That’s a months worth for Richie Martin

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 8, 2019 at 8:46 pm

      Bruce, he was a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. The Orioles brought him to Grapefruit League games often as an extra player, but they had so many more experienced infielders that he rarely played. Did very well at Frederick after a middling year at Delmarva last year. Eager to see how he performs for Bowie. As you suggest, he’s off to a hot start with the Baysox. If he has a good year, that could get him on the radar. Richie Martin hit .300 at Double-A last year, the same level McCoy’s at. It’s a huge jump.

    • Bhoffman1

      May 8, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      I just don’t see how they can hang on to Martin all season. He flat out cannot hit ML pitching .

      • Borg

        May 9, 2019 at 5:51 am

        It won’t matter if he hits .000 the rest of the way-he’s a Rule 5 player so he stays the entire season. That’s the way the system works. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly wrong with his form, his bat is just too slow for major league pitching right now. But bat “speed” is really just about pitch recognition and getting the wood into the zone quicker so maybe when he sees more pitching he will seem to have a faster bat. Either way, better get used to seeing him in the lineup every few days.

    • Camden Brooks

      May 9, 2019 at 6:11 am

      Borg, or they can return him to the A’s at any time.

    • Bhoffman1

      May 9, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Borg you write as if we are obligated to keep him even if he hits 000. Well as Camden says we can send him back and probably clear waivers like Araujo and wind up at Norfolk where he belongs

      • Borg

        May 10, 2019 at 5:54 am

        Of course they aren’t obligated to keep him, any more than they are obligated to keep anyone including Chris Davis. They can always eat the contract for anyone. But there is zero upside to putting him on the waiver wire right now considering that this team isn’t going to win more than 60 games anyway. They lose nothing by seeing if he can come around offensively, and if he doesn’t, then next year he can go to Norfolk and see if he can improve. How do either of you know that he would “probably” clear waivers? The Orioles aren’t stocked with enough major league ready players that they can throw away a possible future contributor, and there isn’t any reason to do it at this point in the season.

  3. BirdsCaps

    May 8, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Previous commenters have asked for it, and here is the historical anecdote to allow me to yell at the clouds about pitch counts. On July 2, 1963 there was a 16 inning game between the Giants and Braves. Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal both threw complete games and hurled 201 and 227 pitches respectively. Marichal nabbed the W, and despite the high pitch counts of those days, Marichal pitched for 16 years, while Spahn threw for 21. So, today we have stupid pitch counts, which if used sparingly I can understand, however there excessive use today just seems dumb. Also, there (likely) weren’t as many arm injuries as today it seems that every pitcher gets at least 1 tommy john. That concludes the rant De Jour.

    • Ekim

      May 8, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Right on! My father was in the Navy and stationed at the Brooklyn Navy yard in the early 50’s which gave me the chance to see some of the great Dodgers of the day. One of them was Don Newcombe. I don’t have access to the exact specifics but I remember him pitching a complete game and coming back two days later and going deep into the game. I also remember him pitching in relief between starts. Most teams went with four starters and going with them every four days. What a bunch of wimps we watch today!

      • BirdsCaps

        May 8, 2019 at 10:21 pm

        Hey Ekim,
        We could probably have a therapy session where we vent about topics such as Manfred, instant replay, new catcher/2nd base collision rules, and the DH.

        • Jbigle1

          May 9, 2019 at 2:39 am

          The game was also a pitch to contact and put the ball in play. We now live in the Max velo 100% effort era. These guys now play all year long while throwing at their maximum speed. It’s no wonder so many arms break. As for guys like Cashner and Straily, pitch counts shouldn’t be much of a concern.

          I think innings may be a concern for cash as he has some nice incentives for innings pitched. He gets 400K for 170,180,190 and 200 innings. I can see why they’re trying to shortchange him. He also gets a 750K bonus when he hits 150 innings but that will be hard to manipulate unless he goes down on the DL for about a month. AND (there’s more) if cashner threw 340 innings the last 2 seasons he would have a 10 million dollar vesting option. That definitely won’t hit though.

          • BirdsCaps

            May 10, 2019 at 1:28 am

            Hello Jbigle1,
            I agree with part of your argument and have a few questions about another part. I agree that pitchers today throw too much, especially when they are young. Stupid parents jerky coaches, and kids who think they are the second coming of the Babe train for baseball year round and do not play other sports. A few years ago, a brainy strategy to get more velocity was scapula loading. I remember reading an article about 5 yrs ago saying that it led to a wave of TJ surgeries. I would love to see a source (either stats or an article) on whether or not modern pitchers throw much harder than their predacessors, as I have never heard this before. That said, your point about the modern emphasis on Ks (I hate this 3 true outcomes junk, but that’s another rant) would likely lead to pitchers putting more stress on their arm.

  4. willmiranda

    May 9, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Hyde is making lemonade with his lemons. These guys can’t get through the order a third time, so he says they’re on a pitch count, but not really on a pitch count, sort of “How I feel about how lousy they are, putting all those guys on base.” I’m sure Hyde’s still happy for his untimely yank of Hess in the potential no-no since his arm is still fresh for four-inning stints in May. Personally, I think some of these guys should be capable of at least occasional good performances, but babying them and offering ridiculous rationalizations doesn’t give them a chance.

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