A Conversation for Baseball Basics

Pitching Rotation

Post 1


Most positions in the game of baseball are played by the same player from day to day. Each team generally has one player who is best at a given position, and starts him there almost all the time.

Pitchers are different. Every team has a "rotation" of pitchers who start games, as the name suggests, on a rotating basis. There is no fixed number, but a five-man rotation is most common.

The reason for this is that the pitcher is the hardest-worked player on the field. Every play begins with a pitch, and while the batters and runners change, the pitcher stays the same for as long as he's in the game. Throwing 100 pitches or more at speeds over 90 mph will wear your arm out in no time, and pitchers need time to rest. This means that even though a team may have the greatest pitcher in the game, that pitcher won't see action in more than a fifth or so of the team's games.

It is also uncommon in modern baseball for pitchers to pitch "complete games." Generally speaking, managers turn to "relief pitchers" in late innings unless the starter is having a stunning outing, such as a low-hitter, no-hitter or possible perfect game.

Some terms:

NO-HITTER: A pitcher achieves a no-hitter if the opposing team fails to get any hits in the course of a game. A game is still a no-hitter if players manage to get on base because of walks or fielding errors.

PERFECT GAME: The most rare and impressive of all feats in baseball, and perhaps in American sports. In the history of major-league baseball, only 14 perfect games have been pitched. In a perfect game, a pitcher (generally with the help of outstanding fielding by his teammates) prevents all opposing batters from reaching base, period. That means no hits, no walks, no hit batters, no errors, etc. Twenty-seven batters come to the plate, and 27 go down. Nothing beats a perfect game for a sure ticket into baseball lore.

Pitching Rotation

Post 2

Steve K.

I think I've told this story before, but I like telling it.

Here in Houston, the Astros have never been to the World Series and get criticism for fading in the clutch. But at the end of one season, they were in a tight pennant race and playing one of the last games of the year. Mike Scott was pitching, the same player whose face on a New York bar's television smiley - monster converted Irishman Frank McCourt to baseball (McCourt is the author of "Angela's Ashes"). I was driving on the freeway with the game on the radio like everybody else in town. When the Astros would get an out, typically a strikeout, you could see clenched fists out of many car windows. Scott threw a no hitter to clinch the pennant. As the announcer said, "What a way to do it!" smiley - wow

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