John Smoltz blasts 'computer guy' pitch-count mentality
John Smoltz on Friday blasted what he called the "computer guy" mentality that he says has prompted teams to remove a pitcher too soon for the good of the pitcher or the team.
"There's no excuse to not be able to be in shape to throw 130, 140 pitches, but we've gotten into this mindset from some computer guy that thinks there's a way to save the investment of a pitcher. And it's backfiring, and it will backfire," Smoltz said during a Major League Baseball conference call.
Smoltz, a Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star for the Atlanta Braves, spoke one day before Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay and San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum were scheduled to face each other in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. In the first round of the playoffs, Halladay threw a no-hitter and made 104 pitches; Lincecum threw a two-hitter -- with 14 strikeouts -- and made 119 pitches.
"When a guy is dominating a game, it's a manager's job, and the hardest job is sometimes, even though you've got a great closer, that team had no chance against Lincecum. And sometimes when you bring in a change, you give the team the feeling like, 'Well, now we've got a chance,'" Smolz said.
Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine formed the core of a rotation that made the Braves a perennial postseason entrant. But Smoltz said the Phillies' H2O trio -- Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt -- more than favorably compares to Atlanta's big three.
"They have much better stuff than we did, and that's stating the obvious," Smoltz said. "They have dominated games; we dominated games in a different way. The only thing I'll say is, if they can stick together, then they've got a chance to shatter a lot of pitching records."
-- Bill Shaikin