With all the talk about hitting, there’s been an issues that’s gone overlooked: starting pitcher energy.
It’s absolutely amazing that you can pick your starters now. That’s one of the best changes of the year. When a pitcher starts a game and goes deep, however, he shouldn’t be able to go deep in a game for another 3 at least. With how much energy is recovered by pitchers between games you can effectively cycle between three pitchers while using your 4th and 5th as long relievers. There have been a good amount of games where these starters come in as the actual relievers instead of guys from the bullpen, and while I understand that happens, it has been happening way too often. None of these are gamebreaking issues, but it’s annoying to see the rotation shortened to a 3 man rotation.
I think there are a few ways this can be addressed. Not necessarily all of these ideas should be implemented at once, but they’re some ways to look at it.
- make starting pitchers use more energy. I think has been a general issue with the game, but by making starting pitchers only use more energy, it creates more strategic decisions late in the game and reduces the ability of a guy who threw 100 pitches to start again 2 games later.
- After a starter comes out of the game, make him take an additional energy hit for the next game. It’s hard for pitchers to come back and throw a lot of pitches after starting a game. This would reduce their energy for the next game (obviously).
- A more direct solution is to make a starting pitcher unavailable for 1-2 games after they start. This is taking a hammer to the problem that doesn’t need it, but it would do the job. I think one game would be ideal in this case.
- Starters who appear in relief specifically use more energy. This would be an oddly specific solution, but nevertheless, it would help address the issue where starters are always the pitcher of choice.
- Simply make energy recovery much slower. A simple solution.
These are a few ways I could think of to tackle the issue. I’ll admit this has come about in part because it’s been so frustrating to face Kluber 8/10 games I play. But I don’t think I’ve ever had to use my 4-5 starters because pitchers recover energy way too fast, and don’t use enough energy while they’re in games.
All of this being said, please do not remove manual pitcher selection. It’s one of the best parts of the game. The process and mechanics within it need to be changed.
TL;DR Starting pitchers energy needs to be use more so that they 1. Aren’t coming out of the pen in the majority of games and 2. Have the whole rotation used or need to be used if their energy isn’t correctly utilized. It’s an unsung issue that needs to be addressed.