Well, OK, the Grantland article is actually titled “A National Mistake” and the beginning and end discusses how the Nats were wrong to shut down Stephen Strasburg this month.
Personally, I found the middle more interesting, as Rany Jazayerli, who invented Pitcher Abuse Points for Baseball Prospectus back in 1998, presents a lengthy rundown of how pitcher usage has changed the last 20 years and makes his case that the reduction in the workloads of young pitchers has reduced injuries by a third.
There’s a lot of good stuff in there. My favorite: “Mark Prior threw as many games with 130-plus pitches in September and October of 2003 as every pitcher in the major leagues combined in 2012.”
As for his Strasburg take, I’m not sure I agree. I think the Nationals went about it wrong — they could have worked things out differently and not had to shut Strasburg down in advance of the postseason — but I believe the idea of limiting to about 160 innings was the right call.
Today is the 13th anniversary of one of the most exciting and iconic plays in postseason history. On October 17, 2004, the Yankees and the Red Sox faced off in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yankees had a 3-0 lead in the series and held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox were three outs from being eliminated by the Yankees. Again.
Kevin Millar led off the inning facing Mariano Rivera and worked the greatest closer in baseball history for a walk. Terry Francona inserted Dave Roberts as a pinch runner. Everyone in the building knew that Roberts had one job: get to second base and scoring position. Despite everyone knowing it was coming, Roberts swiped second base. He’d come around to score, the Sox won the game in 12 innings, would win the next three and the World Series, completing the greatest comeback in postseason history and ending an 86-year championship drought.
Understandably, the Red Sox wanted to remember that wonderful day today. So they tweeted about it:
The Yankees, however, weren’t gonna let that one go by: