I’m not part of the crowd that calls for a managers head when his starting pitcher throws 138 pitches in a complete game to end the season. However, it seems like the sides defending Madritsch being left out for the 9th are using the “how bad can one start hurt?” theory, which ignores the actual pattern of how Madritsch has been used since being promoted.
Madritsch is averaging 110.4 pitches per start, 4th highest total in the majors. Only Jason Schmidt, Livan Hernandez, and Carlos Zambrano are averaging more P/GS than Mads.
Madritsch’s 138 pitch effort last night was the 3rd highest single game pitch count of the season. Livan Hernandez threw 144 once and Jason Schmidt threw 143. No other pitcher in baseball has been pushed as long as Mads was last night.
His last 5 starts, he’s thrown 126, 122, 119, 66, and 138 pitches. Last night’s outing was not an isolated incident. He’s been worked very hard since coming up.
We still have a long ways to go in understanding pitcher injuries and why they occur. It’s an indisputable fact, however, that Madritsch has been placed in a workload category that correlates with future arm problems. There is reason to worry about the effects this will have on him. The Mariners chose to ignore that risk, much like they’ve ignored similar risks with other pitchers, and they certainly don’t have the track record to say “trust us, we know what we’re doing”. When it comes to keeping pitchers healthy, the M’s have clearly shown that they don’t know any more than you or I. We all know very little, but it would be nice if the team would admit their ignorance on the subject and error on the side of caution. The 2005 M’s need a healthy Bobby Madritsch a lot more than he needed that complete game.