I saw Ken Davidoff's column on Mike Pelfrey's complete game today, and he asks the same question that I asked The Franchise while we were eating dinner at Sandro's last night - why is Pelfrey still pitching in a game that the Mets salted away in the bottom of the seventh inning?
Mind you, I wasn't necessarily saying Pelfrey needed to be removed. He was well under 100 pitches as the eighth inning began (he finished the game with 108), so the Pitch Counters couldn't have been too concerned. You know that I like complete games and I'm not a big believer in the theory that the 100-pitch "limit" is a one-size-fits-all approach to managing pitcher fatigue.
Davidoff's focus was on something I mentioned last night - that Pelfrey was on pace to blow past the 183 inning cap that some people believe is necessary for a young pitcher's development. From the article:
Pelfrey, who did dominate the Astros, has now pitched 163 innings this season, after totaling 152 2/3 last year in the minors and majors. Most teams now adhere to the notion that a young pitcher shouldn't exceed his previous year's innings total by more than 30. With 30 games left, Pelfrey's turn is set to come up six more times, which means he's on pace to blow by the recommended 182 2/3 innings. And that's even before we count the postseason. To this, the Mets are essentially saying, "Fuhgeddaboutit."
Ken, you said it yourself - teams adhere to a "notion" that a young pitcher shouldn't exceed his innings pitched total by more than 30 from the previous year. There is absolutely no evidence that this notion is actually effective in preventing pitcher injuries - or even reducing the likelihood than an injury might take place. In an age where we monitor pitch counts and now we monitor innings pitched from the year before, pitchers still seem to find a way to blow out their arms. Perhaps these "notions" should be sent back to the trash bin and new theories for preventing pitcher injuries should be explored.