Tonight in Cleveland Jeremy Bonderman will make his next scheduled start without missing his turn, a thought that seemed highly unlikely last week. When Marco Scutaro’s line shot hit Jeremy in the wrist last week at Comerica Park, Jeremy not only thought his season was over, but perhaps his career. The great news is that his wrist is not broken, in fact aside from a little tenderness and some minor aches, it’s ready to go. Jeremy threw on the side in Boston, first on flat ground and then from the mound. Reporting no ill effects from the injury, and having thrown all of his pitches in the bullpen session, he will take the mound tonight without missing a start. It will also keep Bonderman on track to throw 200 innings this year.
If there is one thing you can say about the Tigers rotation this year, it is that they have been very durable and ready to take the ball every fifth day. In fact, the Tiges could conceivably have three hurlers with 200 innings by the end of the season, which is highly unusual for even the most talented staffs. If the Tigers make no major changes to the rotation and Bonderman, Jason Johnson and Mike Maroth each get six or seven more starts, the club could have three with 200 innings. I asked Bob Cluck if he had ever been around a staff with three of four guys that each threw 200 or more innings. "You’d have to look it up, but the ’93 Astros team is a club that I was proud of. That staff went the whole season without putting a guy on the DL," he said. The ’93 Astros did indeed have three guys that threw over 200 innings each. Doug Drabek, Pete Harnisch and Mark Portugal each did it and Greg Swindell narrowly missed with 190 innings.
The first team that comes to mind when looking up clubs with strong pitching is Oakland and sure enough they had three starters with 200 or more innings. Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson each threw 200 innings in 2001 and 2002.
However, the Yankees had four starters turn the trick in 2003. Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and David Wells all reached the 200 innings plateau.
It takes a good dose of luck to keep a staff healthy. Cluck admits that one of the keys to keeping guys healthy is closely monitoring pitch counts. The strength and training staffs also play an important role. "Our training staff has been great about keeping on our guys with their shoulder exercises," said Cluck.
The next time you wonder why a starter was taken out of a game after eight innings and 110 pitches, it’s all part of the plan to keep them off the DL. Gone are the days of Mark Fidrych throwing 24 complete games in a season. It’s a different time and era.