Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Dusty Baker-Not well understood how much pitchers have to extend in post season, then have shorter winters, less time to recover

Above 2009 ALCS game 1, 10/16/09, Angels in the Bronx, drizzle, 11:15pm, was 45 degrees at game start, likely below 40 by 11:15pm.

4/29/12, AP, "Then there's the cumulative strain. Wilson set career highs in saves, games and innings pitched in 2010, when the bearded closer helped the Giants win the World Series. His elbow acted up in 2011, causing him to miss more than a month....

"A lot of times, people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," (Dusty) Baker said. "You're still pitching while everybody else is home resting. That's a lot more. And you have less time to recover for next year. You have a shorter winter.

"Winning takes its toll, big time. There's nothing better than that, but it takes its toll.""...


Ed. note: Mariano Rivera's name was not mentioned in this AP article about the demands of post season pitching. He has been in 16 post seasons beginning in 1995 and is still pitching today in 2012. He's pitched twice until November 4th, in 2009 and 2001, pitching 16 innings in total in each of those post seasons. Articles like this cite Brian Wilson's single year 2010 and his subsequent physical problems as an example of how much more demanding post season pitching is. Dusty Baker is quoted saying "people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," on top of which you have "shorter winters and less time to recover." The AP reporter references Brian Wilson's regular season innings load in 2010. Rivera has had heavier regular season loads going into post seasons. I wouldn't mention it but the topic of pitcher durability seems to be a popular one and it would be nice if it were presented objectively by mass media personnel. The reporter had the space in which to mention Rivera, a name that served his thesis about closers and durability perfectly, but chose instead to include a separate vignette about a retired pitcher who was not known for his post season resume and who missed most of one year, 2003, due to surgery.

Rivera pitched 80.2 innings in 2001 regular season, 16 innings in 2001 post season, for a total of 96.2 innings. The 2001 post season was not exactly about 'pitching one inning with a 3 run lead,' as persons like Gossage want you to think. It was filled with multi-inning, tie game, and 1 run situations.

2001 World Series game 7 again saw Rivera on the mound for 2 innings with only a 1 run lead. He struck out 3 in the 8th, then in the 9th, score still 2-1, he obviously broke, threw the ball into center field for no reason, and ended up getting the loss on a bloop hit over a drawn in infield. I note this information because I've read of people to this day who are bitter that Rivera is not excoriated more for "blowing" the 2001 World Series. Obviously he lost it, whether by mental lapse of throwing the ball into center field in the 9th or the bloop hit. There were judgements by other people in that inning that contributed to the loss as well. Personally, I turned the radio off after he threw the ball into center field. The point is, without Rivera they don't make it past ALDS game 3, World Series game 3, 4, or 5.

He is the only one on the cover of the book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty" about the 2001 World Series because most of the burden of holding it together had fallen on Rivera.

On to 2002. After pitching until Nov. 4 in 2001, he was asked to pitch in 4 games the first week of April 2002. In May 2002 he had 3 multi-inning outings one of which was 2 innings (May 17). Overuse into Nov. 2001 on top of what should have been a more gradual start into 2002 combined so he ended up missing some weeks due to injury in 2002 but still pitched in 45 games and into the post season. As the AP reporter might have said, his arm "acted up" but didn't "give out." Nor was he on the 'use gently' list subsequently. In October 2003 he pitched 3 innings in a tie, extra innings game 7 ALCS on the way to the World Series. I mention these details in the interest of accuracy about pitcher durability.


Above, 2009 ALCS, player from Los Angeles Angels wears head covering against biting cold in New York, US Presswire photo. This was likely from ALCS game 1 or 2, game 6 in NY was a little warmer. (Some Angels actually wore full ski masks but I haven't been able to find a photo of that).


2009 ALCS game 1 Angels at NY, "Start Time Weather: 45° F, Wind 10mph from Left to Right, Drizzle." 10/16/09, final 4-1, Yankees.


2009 ALCS game 2 Angels at NY, "Start Time Weather: 47° F, Wind 11mph from Left to Right." 10/17/09. By the late innings, it was likely close to 40 degrees:

Rivera entered in the 8th with 2 men on base, score tied 2-2, came out again in the 9th and 10th innings for a total of 7 outs. The score remained tied 2-2 for his entire outing. The game lasted 13 innings but Rivera didn't figure in the decision, ie no "save" no nothing, just high pressure late innings in 40 degree weather. Final 4-3 Yankees in 13. (Rivera had pitched the night before, 10/16/09, as well, but had it "easy" that night as Gossage would say if he even acknowledged Rivera's post season innings).


Gossage constantly says Rivera

Gossage in effect lies when giving out stats about his superiority to Rivera by leaving out Rivera's 141 post season innings, the equivalent of 2 years of relief pitching sandwiched in with his regular season efforts, and makes no allowance as Dusty Baker notes for the extra effort and shorter off season. Gossage would have been on the couch most of the time, resting up to pad his next year's regular season stats. There can only two reasons Gossage says these things about Rivera:

People assume Gossage is telling the truth so they don't bother to double check what he's saying including his highly sliced and diced version of his own stats.


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