The Filibuster

Is pitching so good because guys aren’t juicing anymore or are pitchers just better than they were ten years ago?

Kathrine
Downers Grove, IL

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This reminds me of when people ask if the Civil War was more about slavery or the fundamental differences between an industrial North and agrarian South.  The answer to the baseball question is pretty much the same as the answer to the Civil War question.  It’s both.

The apparent decrease in the use of PEDs in baseball has had an effect.  It’s unlikely you’re going to see many more 70+ homerun seasons in the near future.  But it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t just the hitters who were juicing during that period.  Roger Clemens taking a jab in his pale, fleshy ass was just as much a part of the era as Barry Bonds’ application of random creams and gels.  More than that, assuming that players are no longer juicing just because there hasn’t been as much of it in the news is naive at best.  It’s more likely that they have simply discovered a different, less traceable form.

Meanwhile, there’s no denying that some spectacular pitchers are playing the game these days.  Beyond the hype of guys like Strasburg, Lincecum and Verlander, even the mid-range starters have gotten better.  When the Rangers can add Neftali Feliz as their number five starter, that’s a sign there’s some scary talent out there.  The Nationals have become a force mainly through the development of guys like Strasburg, Storen and Zimmermann.  Pitchers are pitching not only better but smarter and that’s causing problems for hitters.

These things are cyclical, though.  Just because pitchers are handcuffing batters this season doesn’t mean the sluggers won’t figure out what’s going on next year.  It’s an arms race (literally and figuratively) between the two sides.  But it’s not just because of one aspect or another.  It’s the entirety of the situation.  You know, kind of like the Civil War.

-A

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1 Comment

Makes sense, Al, in all reality. It’s still very early in the season, with plenty of time for hitters, especially those wearing a Tigers uniform, to work things out. Feel free to insert your own ‘Max Scherzer joke’ here, too….
–Mike

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