Relief pitcher

In baseball and softball, a relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to injury, ineffectiveness, fatigue, ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as inclement weather delays or pinch hitter substitutions. Relief pitchers are further divided informally into various roles, such as closers, setup men, middle relief pitchers, left/right-handed specialists, and long relievers. Whereas starting pitchers usually rest several days before pitching in a game again due to the number of pitches thrown, relief pitchers are expected to be more flexible and typically pitch more games but with fewer innings pitched. A team's staff of relievers is normally referred to metonymically as a team's bullpen, which refers to the area where the relievers sit during games, and where they warm-up prior to entering the game.

Baseball bullpen 2004
Relief pitcher Rheal Cormier warms up in the bullpen during progression of the game.

History

Pre-bullpen

In the early days of Major League Baseball (MLB), substituting a player was not allowed except for sickness or injury. An ineffective pitcher would switch positions with another player on the field. The first relief appearance in the major leagues was in 1876 with Boston Red Caps outfielder Jack Manning switching positions with pitcher Joe Borden.[1] In this early era, relief pitchers changing from a position role to the pitcher's box in this way were often called "change" pitchers.[2] This strategy of switching players between the mound and the outfield is still occasionally employed in modern baseball, sometimes in long extra inning games where a team is running out of players.[3] In 1889, the first bullpen appearance occurred after rules were changed to allow a player substitution at any time.[4] Early relief pitchers were normally starting pitchers pitching one or two innings in between starts.[5] In 1903, during the second game of the inaugural World Series, Pittsburgh's Bucky Veil became the first relief pitcher in World Series history.

Early modern relievers/"firemen"

Firpo Marberry is credited with being the first prominent reliever. From 1923 to 1935, he pitched in 551 games, 364 of which were in relief. Baseball historian Bill James wrote that Marberry was "a modern reliever—a hard throwing young kid who worked strictly in relief, worked often, and was used to nail down victories."[6] Another reliever, Johnny Murphy, became known as "Fireman" for his effectiveness when inserted into difficult situations ("put out fires") in relief.[7]

Nonetheless, the full-time reliever who was entrusted with important situations was more the exception than the rule at this point. Often, a team's ace starting pitcher was used in between his starts to "close" games. Later research would reveal that Lefty Grove would have been in his league's top three in saves in four different seasons, had that stat been invented at the time.[8]

Gradually after World War II, full-time relievers became more acceptable and standard.[9] The relievers were usually pitchers that were not good enough to be starters.[10] Relievers in the 1950s started to develop oddball pitches to distinguish them from starters.[10] For example, Hoyt Wilhelm threw a knuckleball, and Elroy Face threw a forkball.[11]

In 1969, the pitcher's mound was lowered and umpires were encouraged to call fewer strikes to give batters an advantage. Relief specialists were used to counter the increase in offense.[12]

Closer era

Red Sox Bullpen Cart (7224550882)
The bullpen car used by the Boston Red Sox to cart relievers into games

Relievers became more respected in the 1970s, and their pay increased due to free agency. All teams began having a closer.[12] The 1980s were the first time in MLB that the number of saves outnumbered complete games. In 1995, there were nearly four saves for every complete game.[13] It is unclear whether the specialization and reliance on relief pitchers led to pitch counts and fewer complete games, or whether pitch counts led to greater use of relievers.[14]

As closers were reduced to one-inning specialists, setup men and middle relievers became more prominent.[15]

In past decades, the relief pitcher was merely an ex-starter who came into a game upon the injury, ineffectiveness, or fatigue of the starting pitcher. The bullpen was for old starters who had lost the ability to throw effectively. Many of these pitchers would be able to flourish in this diminished role. Those such as Dennis Eckersley, as with many others, actually prolonged their tapering careers and often sparked them to new life. The added rest to their arms as well as the lessened exposure of their abilities became an advantage many would learn to capitalize on. Because these pitchers only faced some batters once a season, the opposing side would have greater difficulty preparing to face relief pitchers.

Recently, being a relief pitcher has become more of a career, rather than a reduced position. Many of today's top prospects are considered mainly for their relief pitching skills.[16] In the quest for a managerial edge, managers as time goes on have carried more pitchers in the bullpen, and used them in more specialized situations. Acknowledgment of the platoon edge has prompted managers to ensure that opposing lefty hitters face as many lefty pitchers as possible, and that the same occur with respect to righty hitters and pitchers. Tony La Russa was particularly well known for making frequent pitching changes on this basis.[17]

When Mike Marshall set the all-time record with 106 games pitched in 1974, he threw 208.1 innings.[18] Currently, although some relievers still do appear in a large number of games per season, the workload for each individual pitcher has been much reduced. Since 2008, Pedro Feliciano has three of the top four seasons in games pitched, with 92, 88 and 86. However, Feliciano only averaged 58 innings pitched during those seasons.[19] The last pitcher to throw 100 or more innings in a season without starting a game was Scott Proctor in 2006.[20]

Current relief roles

Pitching staffs on MLB teams have grown from 9 or 10 to as many as 12 or 13 pitchers, due to the increased importance of relief pitching.[21] The staff generally consists of five starting pitchers, with the remaining pitchers assigned as relievers.[22] A team's relief staff usually contains a closer who generally pitches the ninth inning, a setup pitcher who generally pitches the eighth, and a left-handed specialist whose job is to retire left-handed batters. The rest of the bullpen then consists of middle relievers who are used in the remaining situations, and perhaps additional left-handed or right-handed specialists.[23]

The closer is usually the best relief pitcher, followed by the setup man.[24] Players typically get promoted into later-inning roles as they succeed.[25][26] Relievers were previously more multipurpose before becoming one-inning specialists.[26][27]

The setup man and closer will normally only be used to preserve a lead, although they may enter to maintain a close game (where the score is tied or if their team is trailing by only a few runs) particularly in the playoffs. If the team is significantly behind going into the eighth or ninth inning and a relief pitcher is required, usually a middle reliever or two will be chosen to soak up innings, while the setup man and closer are saved for the next time they are needed to preserve a win.[28] The proper use of the bullpen is to avoid using an effective reliever on a low-leverage situation, instead saving them as "fireman" for high-leverage situations (such as bases-loaded, no-outs).[29][30]

In 2018, some MLB teams began experimenting with an opener – a pitcher who is normally a reliever that starts the game for an inning or two before yielding to someone who would normally be a starter. One advantage of this approach is that the opener, who is often a hard-throwing specialist, can be called in to face the most dangerous hitters, who are usually near the top of the batting order, the first time they come to bat.[31] Although the opener has only been formally regarded as a relief role in 2018, managers have sporadically used a reliever before a starter. A good example is Game 6 of the 1990 National League Championship Series when Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland started a set-up man, Ted Power, in order to keep the Cincinnati Reds from employing their successful platoon (Power pitched ​2 13 innings prior to giving way to lefty starter Zane Smith in the third inning) and the strategy worked in holding the Reds to only two runs; to deceive his opponents Leyland had announced the Game 6 starter at a press conference so that the Reds would set their batting order around Smith.[32]

Starting pitchers as relievers

Between their scheduled starts in the rotation, a starting pitcher can be used on short rest for the bullpen. They are sometimes used as relievers when the stakes are higher, such as a game that could decide the division title or an elimination (winner-take all) playoff game. Regarded as an "universal truth in baseball", "almost every starting pitcher would be better in relief". In the current era, starters are typically used in relief situations either early the postseason prior to their scheduled rotation start, or late in the postseason after their last scheduled start (often with "the ultimatum of a series clincher"). However, the 2018 Boston Red Sox under Alex Cora managed their pitching rotation such that a starter was readily available in the bullpen every playoff game.[33]

A good example is the deciding Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS, where the San Francisco Giants bullpen utilized two starters as well as three regular relievers to get seven scoreless innings.[34] In Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS, manager Joe Girardi was criticized for "managing by formula" in not calling upon ace CC Sabathia and instead going to reliever David Robertson who surrendered several runs that put the game out of reach for the New York Yankees.[35][36]

Starter Madison Bumgarner recorded the longest save in World Series history, pitching five scoreless innings of relief in a Game 7 3-2 victory of the 2014 edition.[37] In the 2018 World Series, starter Nathan Eovaldi, originally slated to pitch Game 4, was inserted in relief during Game 3 which turned into an 18-inning marathon. In making World Series history, he became the first reliever to throw at least six innings after Rick Rhoden did so in 1977, while Eovaldi's 97 pitches set the record for the most by a reliever (and also 36 more pitches than Rick Porcello who had started that game).[38][39][40][41]

In the clinching Games of the 2018 NLCS and 2018 World Series, respectively, aces Clayton Kershaw (for Kenley Jansen) and Chris Sale (for Craig Kimbrel, indeed the other pitcher warming up besides Sale was another starter, Nathan Eovaldi) pitched the ninth-inning in lieu of their team's regular closer. Neither relief entrance was a high pressure situation as their teams were already leading 5-1 entering the 9th; but it gave Sale the opportunity to get the final outs of the series (Sale also got the first outs of the series when he started the opener).[42][43][44][45]

Position players as relievers

In games where a blowout is occurring, position players (non-pitchers) may be substituted in to pitch to save the bullpen for the next game. However, this is a rare occurrence as position players are not truly trained as pitchers, and tend to throw with less velocity and/or accuracy. There is also the increased risk of injury, such as Jose Canseco who suffered a season-ending arm injury after pitching 2 innings in a 1993 game. For these reasons, managers will typically only use a position player as a pitcher in a blowout loss, or in order to avoid a forfeit once they have run out of available pitchers. Typically, the position player also pitched at the high school or collegiate level, as smaller roster sizes at amateur levels forced some position players to pitch, with some were recruited in college also as pitchers, as starters or relievers. Mitch Moreland (Mississippi State), Ryan Rua (Lake Erie College), and J. D. Davis (Cal State Fullerton) all played as both position players and pitchers in their collegiate careers, with Rua and Davis both being closers for their college teams.

Cliff Pennington became the first position player in Major League Baseball history to pitch in a postseason game, which was during Game 4 of the 2015 American League Championship Series.[46][47] The second position player to pitch in the playoffs was Austin Romine during Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series.[48][49]

Awards voted to relievers

The Major League Baseball Reliever of the Year Award and The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award are annually voted on and presented to relievers, with the former being split by league into the "Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award" and the "Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award." The Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award is determined by a statistical formula.

Compared to starting pitchers, most relievers (with the except of closers with large save totals) receive few awards and honors.[50] Historically, setup men were rarely selected to MLB All-Star Games, with the relievers selected usually being closers.[51] A setup man has never won the Cy Young Award or the Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award; the highest placements in these respective awards have been achieved by Mariano Rivera who finished third in the voting for the American League (AL) Cy Young Award and twelfth for the AL MVP in 1996, and for the next season he was promoted to closer.[52] Middle reliever Andrew Miller became the first relief pitcher other than a closer to win a League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award when he was voted the 2016 ALCS MVP.

Setup pitchers typically make less than the MLB average salary.[53][54] Relief pitchers further down the line may be journeymen as their individual performances may vary greatly (often specialised to pitch against certain types of batters, such as to right-handed batters only or left-handed batters only), even though their team's relief pitching staff as a whole is overall effective.[55]

The rising importance placed on relief pitchers is evident in the rising star power of the closer. It has gotten to the point where closers are among the biggest stars in the game, with status and salaries on par with starting pitchers. When closers are playing at home, and when they are called into the game to preserve a lead for that last crucial inning or those last couple of outs, many of them trot in from the bullpen to the pitchers mound accompanied by a theme song of their choice. For many years with the Yankees, closer Mariano Rivera entered the game accompanied by Metallica's "Enter Sandman" booming over Yankee Stadium's sound system. When Jonathan Papelbon was with the Red Sox, his entry song was the Dropkick Murphys "Shipping Up to Boston" and Trevor Hoffman entered to the tune of AC/DC's "Hells Bells." [56]

Six pitchers are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame chiefly for their accomplishments as relief pitchers: Goose Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley and Hoffman. Eckersley, who was considered the first modern closer pitching exclusively in ninth inning situations, also had a significant career as a starting pitcher and even threw a no-hitter in 1977. Another pitcher entering the Hall in 2015, John Smoltz, was primarily a starter, but spent four seasons as a reliever.

Jim Konstanty in 1950 was the first reliever to win the MLB Most Valuable Player Award after a then-record 74 games, 16–7 record, 22 saves, and a 2.66 ERA.[57] Mike Marshall in 1974 was the first reliever to win the Cy Young Award after a record 106 games, 15–12 record, 21 saves, and 208 innings pitched.[58] In 1992, Dennis Eckersley was the first modern closer (first player to be used almost exclusively in ninth inning situations)[59][60][61] to win the Cy Young, and since then only one other relief pitcher has won the Cy Young, Éric Gagné in 2003 (also a closer). Three relief pitchers have won both the MVP and Cy Young Awards in one season; Rollie Fingers in 1981, Willie Hernández in 1984, and Eckersley in 1992.

Relievers who have won the Rookie of the Year Award

Year League Player Team
1976 National Butch Metzger San Diego Padres
1980 National Steve Howe Los Angeles Dodgers
1986 National Todd Worrell St. Louis Cardinals
1989 American Gregg Olson Baltimore Orioles
1999 National Scott Williamson Cincinnati Reds
2000 American Kazuhiro Sasaki Seattle Mariners
2005 American Huston Street Oakland Athletics
2009 American Andrew Bailey Oakland Athletics
2010 American Neftalí Feliz Texas Rangers
2011 National Craig Kimbrel Atlanta Braves

Relievers who have won the Cy Young Award

Year League Player Team
1974 National Mike Marshall Los Angeles Dodgers
1977 American Sparky Lyle New York Yankees
1979 National Bruce Sutter Chicago Cubs
1981 American Rollie Fingers Milwaukee Brewers
1984 American Willie Hernández Detroit Tigers
1987 National Steve Bedrosian Philadelphia Phillies
1989 National Mark Davis San Diego Padres
1992 American Dennis Eckersley Oakland Athletics
2003 National Éric Gagné Los Angeles Dodgers

Relievers who have won the Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award

Year League Player Team
1950 National Jim Konstanty Philadelphia Phillies
1981 American Rollie Fingers Milwaukee Brewers
1984 American Willie Hernández Detroit Tigers
1992 American Dennis Eckersley Oakland Athletics

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Zimniuch, Fran (2010). Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8.
  2. ^ Kull, Andrew (April 1985). "Baseball's Greatest Pitcher". American Heritage. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Garro, Adrian (June 28, 2016). "It's a Maddon world: Three pitchers played left field for the Cubs, and it worked". MLB.com. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.7
  5. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.10,15
  6. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.21–22
  7. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.22–23
  8. ^ "Lefty Grove Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  9. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.33
  10. ^ a b Zimniuch 2010, p.34
  11. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.38–45
  12. ^ a b Zimniuch 2010, p.80
  13. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.129
  14. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.78
  15. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.168–9
  16. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.161
  17. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tom_verducci/10/31/tony.la.russa.retires/index.html
  18. ^ "Mike Marshall Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  19. ^ "For single seasons, From 2008 to 2012, sorted by greatest Games Played: Results - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  20. ^ "For single seasons, From 2006 to 2012, (requiring IP≥100 and At least 100% games in relief), sorted by greatest Games Played: Results - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  21. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.xxi,153–4
  22. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.159,166–7
  23. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.154
  24. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.163
  25. ^ Zimniuch 2010, pp.165,171–3
  26. ^ a b Passan, Jeff (April 26, 2010). "Should managers play Scrabble with relievers?". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012.
  27. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.167
  28. ^ Baseball Explained by Phillip Mahony, McFarland Books, 2014. See www.baseballexplained.com
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/ryan-madson-and-the-dodgers-are-faltering-when-it-matters-most/
  31. ^ Justice, Richard (September 27, 2018). "Could the 'opener' be utilized in postseason?". MLB.com. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  32. ^ http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24884073/a-brief-history-bullpenning
  33. ^ http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/25024544/boston-red-sox-starters-won-world-series-bullpen
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)]["Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Matthews: Girardi sank season in fifth inning". ESPN.com. 23 October 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  36. ^ http://www.espn.com/mlb/playoffs/2010/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=5715890
  37. ^ "Did you know: Madison Bumgarner makes history". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  38. ^ Silverman, Michael (October 27, 2018). "Nathan Eovaldi's legend grows after 'amazing' effort". Boston Herald. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  39. ^ https://www.mlb.com/news/nathan-eovaldi-a-red-sox-hero-in-game-3/c-299755566
  40. ^ https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2803072-rick-porcello-cried-after-watching-nathan-eovaldis-performance-in-world-series
  41. ^ https://www.mlb.com/news/red-sox-win-2018-world-series-title/c-299876586
  42. ^ https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/28/david-price-changes-narrative-becomes-a-playoff-ace-for-red-sox-in-world-series-victory-over-dodgers/
  43. ^ https://www.mlb.com/news/alex-cora-on-chris-sale-in-relief-in-game-5/c-299872994
  44. ^ https://www.salemnews.com/sports/joe-kelly-was-boston-s-unsung-hero-in-the-world/article_951f5576-db6e-11e8-89af-f7c4684326b4.html
  45. ^ http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/25024544/boston-red-sox-starters-won-world-series-bullpen
  46. ^ Brisbee, Grant (October 20, 2015). "Blue Jays' Cliff Pennington becomes first position player to pitch in the postseason". SB Nation. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  47. ^ Kilgore, Adam (21 October 2015). "Cliff Pennington pitched in an ALCS game because the Royals are a storm" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  48. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/oct/09/new-york-yankees-boston-red-sox-record-playoff-defeat
  49. ^ https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/10/9/17954120/yankees-red-sox-game-3-aaron-boone-severino-lynn-green
  50. ^ Rancel, Tommy (June 24, 2013). "Set-up guys who would be worthy All-Stars". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014.
  51. ^ Rancel, Tommy (June 24, 2013). "Set-up guys who would be worthy All-Stars". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014.
  52. ^ "1996 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  53. ^ Zimniuch, Fran (2010). Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph Books. pp. 154, 168. ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8.
  54. ^ Felber, Bill (2006). The Book on the Book: An Inquiry Into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-312-33265-5. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  55. ^ http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23781702/the-cleveland-indians-bullpen-proves-baseball-gods-cruel
  56. ^ Baseball Explained by Phillip Mahony, McFarland Books, 2014. See www.baseballexplained.com.
  57. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.28
  58. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.84
  59. ^ Zimniuch 2010, p.169
  60. ^ "MLB on Yahoo! Sports - News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games". Yahoo Sports.
  61. ^ Jenkins, Chris (September 25, 2006). "Where's the fire?". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on February 25, 2011.

External links

1988 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1988 throughout the world.

1990 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1990 throughout the world.

2017 College Baseball All-America Team

This is a list of college baseball players named first team All-Americans for the 2017 NCAA Division I baseball season. The NCAA recognizes four different All-America selectors for baseball: the American Baseball Coaches Association (since 1947), Baseball America (since 1981), Collegiate Baseball (since 1991), and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (since 2001).

Alex Claudio

Alexander Claudio (born January 31, 1992) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Texas Rangers. Claudio pitches in an unorthodox sidearm manner.

Bruce Sutter

Howard Bruce Sutter (; born January 8, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. He was arguably the first pitcher to make effective use of the split-finger fastball. One of the sport's dominant relievers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he became the only pitcher to lead the National League in saves five times (1979–1982, 1984). In 1979, Sutter won the NL's Cy Young Award as the league's top pitcher.

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sutter briefly attended Old Dominion University and was subsequently signed by the Chicago Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 1971. Between 1976 and 1988, he played for the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. In the mid-1980s, Sutter began to experience shoulder problems, undergoing three surgeries and retiring in 1989.

Sutter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2006, his 13th year of eligibility. He was the fourth relief pitcher to be inducted. He was also selected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He was hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as a minor league consultant.

Closer (baseball)

In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer (abbreviated CL), is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm are closers who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Francisco Rodríguez (Mexican pitcher)

Francisco Rodríguez Murillo (born February 26, 1983) is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the Olmecas de Tabasco of the Mexican Baseball League.

Frisco RoughRiders

The Frisco RoughRiders (often shortened to 'Riders) are a Minor League Baseball team of the Texas League and the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Frisco, Texas, and are named for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish–American War, headed by future American President Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed "The Rough Riders" by the American press. They play their home games at Dr Pepper Ballpark which opened in 2003 and seats 10,316 people.In 2016, Forbes listed the RoughRiders as the tenth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $37 million.

Games pitched

In baseball statistics, games pitched (denoted by GP, or GamesG in tables of only pitching statistics) is the number of games in which a player appears as a pitcher; a player who is announced as the pitcher must face at least one batter, although exceptions are made if the pitcher announced in the starting lineup is injured before facing a batter, perhaps while batting or running the bases in the top of the first inning, before the opposing team comes to bat. The statistic is also referred to as appearances, usually to refer to the number of games a relief pitcher has pitched in.

Jeff Robinson (relief pitcher)

Jeffrey Daniel Robinson (born December 13, 1960) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, California Angels and Chicago Cubs.

Johnny Murphy

John Joseph Murphy (July 14, 1908 – January 14, 1970) was an All-Star American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball (1932, 1934–43, 1946–47) who later became a front office executive in the game.

Kent Tekulve

Kenton Charles "Teke" Tekulve (born March 5, 1947) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. During his 16 seasons in MLB, he pitched for three teams, but spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitching with an unusual submarine delivery, he was known as a workhorse relief pitcher who holds several records for number of games pitched and innings pitched.

List of Major League Baseball single-season wins leaders

In Major League Baseball, the winning pitcher is defined as the pitcher who last pitched prior to the half-inning when the winning team took the lead for the last time. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is that a starting pitcher must complete five innings to earn a win (four innings for a game that lasts five innings on defense). If he fails to do so, he is ineligible to be the winning pitcher even if he last pitched prior to the half-inning when his team took the lead for the last time, and the official scorer awards the win to the relief pitcher who, in the official scorer's judgment, was the most effective. The second exception applies if the relief pitcher who last pitched prior to the half-inning when the winning team took the lead for the last time was "ineffective in a brief appearance" in the official scorer's judgment, in which case the win is awarded to the succeeding relief pitcher who, in the official scorer's judgment, was the most effective.Charles Radbourn holds the record for the most wins in a single-season, winning 59 games in 1884. John Clarkson (53 in 1885) and Guy Hecker (52 in 1884) are the only other pitchers to win more than 50 games in a single-season.

Middle relief pitcher

In baseball, middle relief pitchers (or "middle relievers") are relief pitchers who commonly pitch in the fifth, sixth, or seventh innings. In the National League, a middle reliever often comes in after the starting pitcher has been pulled for a pinch hitter. A middle reliever is usually replaced in the eighth or ninth innings by a left-handed specialist, setup pitcher or closers; middle relief pitchers may work these innings as well, especially if the game is not close.

Roberto Hernández (relief pitcher)

Roberto Manuel Hernández Rodríguez (born November 11, 1964) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. His best seasons came with the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1990s. In all, he pitched for 10 different teams over 17 seasons.

Setup man

In baseball, a setup man (or set-up man, also sometimes referred to as a setup pitcher or setup reliever) is a relief pitcher who regularly pitches before the closer. They commonly pitch the eighth inning, with the closer pitching the ninth.As closers were reduced to one-inning specialists, setup men became more prominent. Setup pitchers often come into the game with the team losing or the game tied. They are usually the second best relief pitcher on a team, behind the closer. After closers became one-inning pitchers, primarily in the ninth inning, setup pitchers became more highly valued. A pitcher who succeeds in this role is often promoted to a closer. Setup men are paid less than closers and mostly make less than the average Major League salary.The most common statistic used to evaluate relievers is the save. Due to the definition of the statistic, setup men are rarely in position to record a save even if they pitch well, but they can be charged with a blown save if they pitch poorly. The hold statistic was developed to help acknowledge a setup man's effectiveness, but it is not an official Major League Baseball (MLB) statistic.

Historically, setup men were rarely selected to MLB All-Star Games, with the nod usually going to closers with large save totals. From 1971 through 2000, only six relievers with fewer than five saves at midseason were selected as All-Stars. There were 10 such players from 2001 through 2009. In 2015, the majority of the American League's All-Star relievers were not closers, outnumbered 4–3. Setup men who have been named All-Stars multiple times include Justin Duchscherer, Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller.Francisco Rodriguez, who was a setup pitcher for the Anaheim Angels in 2002, tied starting pitcher Randy Johnson's Major League Baseball record for wins in a single postseason after recording his fifth victory in the 2002 World Series.Tim McCarver wrote that the New York Yankees in 1996 "revolutionized baseball" with Mariano Rivera, "a middle reliever who should have been on the All-Star team and who was a legitimate MVP candidate." He finished third in the voting for the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, the highest a setup man has finished. That season, Rivera primarily served as a setup pitcher for closer John Wetteland, typically pitching in the seventh and eighth inning of games before Wetteland pitched in the ninth. Their effectiveness gave the Yankees a 70–3 win–loss record that season when leading after six innings. McCarver said the Yankees played "six-inning games" that year, with Rivera dominating for two innings and Wetteland closing out the victory.Illustrating the general trend, both Rivera and Rodriguez were moved to closer soon after excelling as setup men. On January 22, 2019, Rivera became the first unanimously elected baseball hall-of-famer having been inducted his first eligible year on the ballot.

Starting pitcher

In baseball (hardball or softball), a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although their ability to do this depends on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategy.

A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three, four, or five days after pitching a game before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four, five or six starting pitchers on their rosters. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.

Todd Worrell

Todd Roland Worrell (born September 28, 1959) is a retired professional baseball relief pitcher. He played all or part of eleven seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers between 1985 and 1997. During his playing career, Worrall was a three-time National League All-Star.

Tom Borland

Thomas Bruce Borland (February 14, 1933 – March 2, 2013), nicknamed "Spike", was an American relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played portions of the 1960 and 1961 seasons for the Boston Red Sox. Borland batted and threw left-handed, stood 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and weighed 172 pounds (78 kg).

Born in Kansas, Borland graduated from high school in McAlester, Oklahoma, and attended what is now Oklahoma State University, where he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1955 College World Series. His minor league career began in 1955 with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, but he was declared a free agent by Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick when it was discovered that the Baltimore Orioles had violated the bonus rule of the day by signing Borland, then loaning him to the Oaks. Signed then by the Red Sox, Borland missed two full years (1956–57) while serving in the United States Army. In 1959, he won 14 games, losing eight, and posted a strong 2.73 earned run average for American Association champion Minneapolis, and was promoted to the Red Sox in mid-May 1960.

In 27 MLB appearances (26 in 1960 and only one in 1961), including four games started, Borland posted an 0–4 record with a poor 6.75 ERA in 52 innings pitched, allowing 70 hits and 23 bases on balls. He struck out 32 and was credited with three saves as a relief pitcher.

As a minor leaguer he had a 48–39 record and a 3.42 ERA between 1955 and 1963. He was traded to the expansion Houston Colt .45s in March 1962 in exchange for Dave Philley, but never appeared in a Major League game for them. Instead, he spent two years in his home state for Houston's Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City 89ers, before leaving baseball.

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