Justin Verlander Criticizes Decline of Starting Pitchers in MLB

The article discusses the concerns surrounding the current state of baseball, particularly the trend of removing starting pitchers after two times through the batting order, despite their performance, and its impact on the role of starting pitchers in the sport. The criticism, led by renowned pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, highlights the reliance on Sabermetrics and baseball analytics, and the potential need for rule changes to address the declining role of starting pitchers and ensure their health. This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the trend of removing starting pitchers), the main entities involved (Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and the MLB), the context of the 2024 MLB season, and the significant actions and implications related to the subject matter. The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the image of a pitcher being removed from a game or a graphic illustrating the decline of starting pitchers' innings pitched.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Justin Verlander Criticizes Decline of Starting Pitchers in MLB

Justin Verlander Criticizes Decline of Starting Pitchers in MLB

As the 2024 MLB season gets underway, concerns are growing about the current state of baseball, particularly regarding pitching trends. Justin Verlander, a renowned pitcher and Cy Young Award winner, has voiced his criticism of the trend of removing starting pitchers after two times through the batting order, regardless of their performance.

Verlander's criticism stems from the fact that even top pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, and himself are often pulled from games after 100 pitches, even if they are pitching well. In 2011, Verlander pitched 251 innings, while in 2023, Cole led the American League with just 209 innings pitched.

The reliance on Sabermetrics and baseball analytics is driving this trend, suggesting that a pitcher's effectiveness declines significantly with each trip through the batting order. Data shows that batters' chances of getting a hit increase when facing the same pitcher for the third time.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, agrees with Verlander's sentiment, stating, "I think everybody agrees. You've got to get the starting pitcher back. From an entertainment standpoint, people watch the matchups. That's a big part of baseball. If you don't have that matchup every day, is that when your sport is officially in trouble?"

The issue extends beyond the health of modern starting pitchers to the role they play in the sport. In a May 6 game between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs, both starting pitchers were removed after five innings, and seven relievers pitched the remaining 25 outs. One baseball executive described the state of starting pitching as an "existential crisis," saying, "I think the game is totally broken from that standpoint."

While the league has introduced rule changes like the pitch clock, it has not addressed the declining role of starting pitchers. Industry sources suggest that the league views this issue as a priority but is still gathering information and may be years away from taking action.

The 2024 season has already seen nine of the ten active Cy Young Award-winning starting pitchers spend time on the injured list. As the role of starting pitchers continues to evolve, the league may need to consider further rule changes to help keep pitchers healthier and restore the prominence of the starter in baseball.

Key Takeaways

  • Justin Verlander criticizes trend of removing starting pitchers after 2 times through batting order.
  • Top pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, and Verlander are often pulled after 100 pitches.
  • Sabermetrics and analytics drive this trend, citing declining pitcher effectiveness.
  • Starting pitchers' role is declining, with many games featuring multiple relievers.
  • MLB views this issue as a priority, but may be years away from taking action.