Count Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as the latest manager to thumb his nose at baseball's obsession with numbers. Hurdle told reporters on Tuesday that he's done watching pitch-count to determine when to remove his starting pitchers.
This, of course, comes on the same day that Gerrit Cole, No. 1 overall draft pick from 2011, makes his major-league debut for the Pirates. Reporters asking whether Cole would be watched closer is what prompted Hurdle's no-pitch-count comments.
David Manel over at Bucs Dugout has the transcript:
"My approach in terms of pitches, actually we were having a conversation today, I’m not paying attention to the number of pitches anymore, the rest of the year, for anybody. I’m serious. Just so you know.
"It’s going to be about the barrel of the bat on the other team. The times men get on base. How they handle the stretch situation. Whether duress picks up or anything like that.
"I want to make sure we have nobody looking at the rear view mirror at 95 pitches thinking 'I’ll only got so many left.' That’s out the window. Gerritt’s in that group as well. I mean, just pitch. If you want to have a goal. Some of us men need goals. Pitch seven full innings and we’ll figure it out after that what our next step is. That’s where we’re going."
You'll remember a couple weeks ago that Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge blamed Dustin Ackley's poor performance and minor-league demotion on Ackley being too concerned with sabermetric stats. Pitch count and sabermetrics are two very different things, but the crux of both managers' statements is the same: Play the game, don't worry about the numbers.
Baseball is harshly divided between the numbers folks and the play-the-game folks, so this is the type of thing we're likely to keep seeing until either Brian Kenny or Harold Reynolds emerges victorious in their statistical death match. (Jokes, just jokes)
It'll be interesting, however, to see if Hurdle eventually back-tracks a little bit like Wedge did. Or whether we'll see Gerrit Cole throwing 125 pitches per game by next month.