Monday, May 09, 2011

Decade of the pitcher?

The 2010 MLB season was dubbed the 'Year of the Pitcher', suggesting it was an aberration, a blip on our National Pastime's radar.

But more recent events indicate we might be in the midst of a trend.

Justin Verlander tossed his second-career no-hitter last week just days after the Twins' Francisco Liriano turned the trick. The pitching mastery flowed into this past weekend with a trio of pitchers taking no-hitters into the seventh inning on Friday and the Marlins' Anibal Sanchez doing the same on Sunday.

According to USA Today the eight complete games of two hits or less recorded this season are the most through May 7 since 1992.

Skeptics will say, "See, Steroid Era over, pitchers dominate". But there's surely more to it than than. I'm not seeing any greater frequency of warning track fly ball outs that would've reached the seats with PEDs. In fact, I'm seeing more and more hitters struggling to hit the ball at all.

More likely it's an increased initiative by organizations to develop and retain good pitching, which has always made sense. And, historically pitchers have been ahead of hitters in April and May, partly because of weather conditions being more conducive to pitching.

We'll take a wait and see approach on this. But it appears the 'Year of the Pitcher' could instead signify an overall maturation of the game. Thoughts?

No comments: