Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Only 25 relievers in MLB history have pitched 20+ innings at age 42-Neyer
11/29/11, "Happy 42nd To The Last No. 42," Rob Neyer, SB Nation
"According to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been only 25 relief pitchers in major-league history who pitched at least 20 innings in their Age 42 seasons.
Two of them -- two of the very best of them -- were knuckleballers: Hoyt Wilhelm and Dutch Leonard. Two of them pitched during World War II, when anyone with a pulse and a draft exemption was allowed to pitch. One of them was Satchel Paige.
What they haven't been is closers.
With just one exception: Dennis Eckersley.
In 1997, Eckersley's second season with the Cardinals -- but his 11th with Tony La Russa -- he racked up 36 saves. It wasn't a real good season otherwise, though. He blew seven saves, lost five games, and posted a 3.91 ERA.
Eckersley's the only 42-year-old modern closer. For a whole season, anyway....
Mariano Rivera probably isn't going to lose his job in May.
See, Mariano Rivera has shown exactly zero sign of showing his age.
At 41, his walk rate was lower than his career walk rate.
At 41, his strikeout rate was higher than his career strikeout rate.
At 41, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was significantly higher than his career strikeout-to-walk ratio.
And while he doesn't throw quite as hard as he once did, the difference is small enough to be irrelevant."...
Ed. note: Neyer ends his article talking about number of innings pitched for Rivera in recent years, mistakenly says he's only pitched around 60 innings under Girardi. Rivera pitched 82.1 innings in 2009, not 60. Neyer knows post season exists so ignorance isn't the reason he's leaving it out. Regarding his 2009 effort in particular, don't you wonder why Neyer wouldn't mention it when speaking of Rivera's durability?
- Regarding the "IP" stat alone used to define durability, in 2010 regular season Rivera had 3+ big multi-inning performances that reflect anything but delicate treatment by Girardi,
- He also pitched 2 innings Sept. 10 at Texas but wasn't involved in the decision.
- He pitched 2 saves in one day on May 26, 2010 which doesn't show up in public stats.
The 16 innings Rivera threw in the 2009 post season meant his season ended on Nov. 4. MLB was all worried about SF Giants pitchers' "short offseason" after their big World Series. Rivera himself wouldn't want people fussing over his durability but it's interesting that his 'short 2009 offseason' wasn't mentioned by Neyer.
- How would Neyer like it if a book was published about him and left out his best work?
Add 6.1IP to Rivera's 2010, and 1.1IP to 2011. 2011 of course didn't see much of Rivera but he was used to get out of a bases-loaded jam which he did with 3 pitches in game 1. In ALDS game 5 he got 3 Tigers out with a total of 5 pitches. The Yankees were down 3-2, so it have helped but that was the end of it.
1/14/11, MLB.com, "Giants' pitchers arming themselves against short offseason," by Chris Haft
From the visiting manager's office regarding Rivera's 2011 post season:
11/21/11, "11/21/11, "Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 6. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer." Tom Verducci
"Awe does not come easily to the baseball men who endure the relentless rigors and inevitable failures of the 162-game season. But awe it was, mixed with cigarette smoke, that filled the visiting manager's office at Yankee Stadium last October as Tigers manager Jim Leyland and his coaching staff reflected upon what they had just witnessed.
The Tigers had just pulled off a stunning, cork-popping victory, eliminating the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, 3-2, in the fifth game of the American League Division Series. Only one other team, the 1926 Cardinals, ever had knocked out the Yankees in a one-run, sudden death postseason game at Yankee Stadium.
"Unbelievable," Detroit first-base coach Tom Brookens said. "Never seen anything like it and we probably never will again."
Leyland, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and third base coach Gene Lamont each added his own version of baseball hallelujahs.
It was not the victory, big as it was, that inspired such wonder. Instead, these baseball lifers shared their amazement about the last Yankees pitcher, a guy who has been pitching in the big leagues for 17 seasons and turns 42 this month. The greatness and wonder of Mariano Rivera is hardly new, but you could say the same about the Grand Canyon, another national treasure that's been around a while
- and still causes jaws to drop.
Rivera threw five pitches in the ninth inning, all of them strikes, all of them wicked cutters, to dismiss three Tigers hitters with ease rarely seen in the big leagues. (For the series, he faced four batters and retired them all with eight pitches, all of them strikes.)"...