Question: Should Madison Bumgarner’s performance in the World Series make us re-think how we handle pitch counts?
When great things happen, we react and overreact and then overreact some more. Should all teams now aim for mediocre rotations and below-average offenses, and just build a great bullpen so they can get to the World Series like the Royals did? Of course not. The Royals were an aberration, a terrific and fascinating team, but not one built to reach the World Series regularly.
In the same vein, the dominance of Madison Bumgarner in the World Series should not make us think we have become too conservative with pitch counts.
Bumgarner was amazing, and his pitch counts in the World Series were fascinating by today’s standards. In Game 1, he threw 106 pitches. Game 5, 117. And in that relief appearance on two days rest in Game 7, 68 pitches. That’s 291 World Series, high-adrenaline pitches in nine days.
We are at the height of Tommy John surgeries. Pitchers are breaking down more than ever and the reasons are ten-fold. Just because a genetic freak comes along in the form of Madison Bumgarner and his 25-year-old, 6’5", 235-pound, country-strong frame does not mean we reevaluate the industry.
All pitchers are not created equal. We are genetically unique and there should never be a one-pitch-count-fits-all philosophy. What Bumgarner just did could not have been done by many. I doubt Yordano Ventura’s slender frame could handle the kind of workload than Bumgarner just took on.
Also important to note: this was October, not June. What he did was OK when trying to win that ring. I don’t think even MadBum, in all his stud-horse glory, could keep anything close to that pace up over the course of a regular season.
Enjoy the magnificent moment, but understand what he just did shouldn’t change anything for the rest of the mere mortals who play this game.