Forget complete games this month

No matter what you think of baseball's new post-season format, you won't see many starting pitchers on the mound when the game is over.  Call it the "death of the complete game."  In other words, you won't see Jack Morris pitching a complete game and beating the Braves 1-0 in 10 innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.  You say 10 innings?  You'll be lucky to see starters pitch 10 innings in two games!

According to the experts, the complete game is another casualty of the emphasis on Analytics.  This is from Ronald Blum:

This year, the entire major leagues have logged just 35 complete games, down from 50 last season, 104 in 2015 and 622 in 1988.

Bullpens reign supreme in the Analytics Age. 

Starters increasingly are blocked from facing the batting order for a third time.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, or the same person who should apologize to Georgia over listening to Stacey Abrams's version of the Georgia voting law, is correct in saying this:

"Decreased number of innings pitched by starters has not been a positive for the game," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. 

"Starting pitchers historically have been some of our biggest stars. I think that it's important for the game that they continue to be some of our biggest stars. And I think the key to continuing that tradition is they need to pitch more."

Correct.  It's bad for the game for several reasons.

First, buying a ticket to see your favorite pitcher was fun.  Seeing Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver take a shutout to the 9th inning was worth the price of admission.  Yes, there are some great pitchers today, but you won't see him in the 9th because the "specialists" come in to pitch the 7th, pitch the 8th, or close the game.  I'm not knocking their talents.  I'm just saying it was a better game to watch when the guy you paid a ticket to see got the last out.

Second, the pace of the game was quicker without the situational pitching changes.

And last, but not least, you can't negotiate a big contract when you go 5 or 6 for the win.  You don't have the same impact on the game because the bullpen is now a huge part of the game.

So sit back and enjoy the post-season, and long for the days when Bob Gibson or Mickey Lolich pitched three complete games in a World Series.  By the way, Bob Gibson won 251 games and completed 255!

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Image: Public Domain Pictures.

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