It's Not Great When Pulling a Pitcher With a No-Hitter in the 5th is the Right Decision and Other Cubs Bullets

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It’s Not Great When Pulling a Pitcher With a No-Hitter in the 5th is the Right Decision and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It has been raining for the last three days straight, approximately. And that is enough for me.

•   The Braves shut down the Astros completely last night to win Game 3 of the World Series and take a 2-1 series lead. First the highlights, then the commentary:

•   Never has the modern baseball tension between “optimizing every inch to win the game” and “be entertaining” been more on display than last night. In Game 3 of the World Series, you had an exciting young righty at 76 pitches through five NO-HIT innings. And, exactly as you’d expect in the current game, Ian Anderson was pulled before he could face the Astros the third time through the order. With a loaded and rested bullpen, it’s the smart move, and it worked. The Braves optimized every inch to win the game. But it sure as hell wasn’t even close to as entertaining as it could have been for fans who wanted a chance – however small – to see history.

•   To that end, the chances Anderson would actually make it through another four hitless innings, given his relative inefficiency, were overwhelmingly small. Moreover, the Braves might’ve lost the game in service of entertaining the fans. That’s not how they’re supposed to operate, and I get that. But that’s how you know something in the sport needs tweaked (well, lots of things, but that’s one): you need to strike a better balance between what helps a team win, and what is entertaining to watch.

•   Now, then, how you go about addressing that issue broadly is going to involve lots and lots of ideas and rules changes, which we’ve talked about ad nauseam. My short version is that there is no one simple fix to what has increasingly become a sport with too little action on the field, stretches of inactivity that go on far too long, and games that last too long. But the usage of starting pitchers COULD be a small part of that overall approach, and to that end, Ken Rosenthal reiterates ideas we keep hearing more and more:

•   I still want to think through the implications of the two rules suggestions – a hard limit on pitchers on the roster, and a “double-hook” rule that means you lose your DH when your starting pitcher comes out – but I’ve generally liked both, in the abstract, for a couple years now. Heck, I think the double-hook could lead to some really entertaining decisions, regardless of anything else it accomplishes.

•   Of course, Rosenthal’s point is much bigger than just the rules changes, and he’s right: the goal has to be changing the way teams DEVELOP pitchers in the first place. So that they are incentivized, strongly, to develop guys who can go 6+ innings consistently. Sure, that incentive already exists, but as the current game is increasingly showing, even a marginal reliever is better in that third time through the order than a pretty-darn-good starting pitcher. In a way, you have to devalue the mediocre-but-hard-throwing reliever in the current game in order to change the way pitchers are developed for five, six, seven years down the road. Kind of a tough spot, and we’ll see who has the stomach for this hard conversation in the CBA talks.

•   More on the tension between winning and entertainment here from Jared Diamond:

•   Brotherly love:

•   More of Pat Hughes, who was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame:

•   Cubs utility prospect Christopher Morel’s season is underway in the Dominican Republic, and he kicked his season off with a solid base hit:

•   Tools, digital frames, wireless gear, and more are your Epic Daily Deals at Amazon. #ad

•   If you missed the very bad news for the Bulls and the implications:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.