illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Tonight for the very first time Rick Porcello threw 100+ pitches in a big league start. Now he has tasted the cloying sweetness of the 100+ pitch fruit, he will do whatever he can to taste it again, he will get to 98 pitches in an outing and he’ll be telling Jim Leyland that he’s totally fine, what’s a few more pitches between a dude and his infant arm, right, right? And we all know how Jim Leyland loves to let his pitchers do that, he is a 100+ PITCH ENABLER.
Verlander and Jackson are 100+ pitch pushers, they want everyone to know the honeyed pain of a bicep that has known a million pitches, they will support Porcello in his desires even though he’s just a child, he does not know any better, he sees his elders throwing 100+ pitches every time out. They are his role models, he wants to be like them so that he can feel cool and maybe one day they will even let him sit with them at the lunch table or on the team plane he can sit in the back where only the cool kids sit.
Maybe Verlander sneaks him a sip of beer to reward him for throwing 100+ pitches and then he’s hooked, there is no getting him back to a mental place where he is content with pitching limits meant to preserve his fragile little body which is probably not even done with puberty yet because holy cats have you seen this kid, don’t let his height fool you, he has the face of an eighth grader. He is impressionable and it only takes one time to get addicted to throwing 100+ pitches per outing, once a kid gets started he’s not going to want to stop, especially not when his entire support system is kind of OK with him doing it anyways because they have misguided notions about what it means to be a man in Major League Baseball and what a child is capable of doing without ruining himself for future season.
THAT IS A POST OF MY PITCHING-RELATED PARANOIA, NOW YOU ALL KNOW.