Dusty Baker to Keep Starters on Strict 180 Pitch Counts in Cubs Series
August 20, 2008
(Chicago, IL) – Former Cubs manager/dumb guy Dusty Baker is bringing his new team, the Cincinnati Reds to town this week, and he wants the Cubs to know that a thing or two has changed since he left. For one, he’s not “as into” Rainbow Brite as he once was. But more importantly, he’s started looking out for his starting pitchers.
Well, sort of.
“Yeah, I heard all the criticism [about abusing starting pitchers],” Baker said Tuesday after being blanked by the Cubs 5-0. “I heard it in San Francisco, man, I heard it in Chicago. And although I’ve really started to think about it lately, dude, I only think the criticism was fair in San Francisco. By the time I got to the Cubs, I had stopped asking my pitchers to warm up before starts by doing 200 one-handed push-ups with their throwing arm. Fifty is probably plenty.”
But for the series against his old team, Baker says he’s pulling out all the stops. “I recognize now that I have to take care of my starting pitchers. I need them. I need my horses.”
That’s why he’s going to keep his starters to a strict 180 pitch count this series.
“It goes against my better instincts, but I’m going to cap my guys at 180 pitches,” Baker said. “Sure, that might prevent them from going 12 innings, but at least this way, they’ll be available on two days’ rest if I need them.”
“Fortunately, yesterday, I was able to get Johnny Cueto out after just 111 pitches,” Baker said. “But he’s a young guy, so I was anxious to get him out of there anyway. Not because of his pitch count, but because I had some veterans I needed to get in the game. For the rest of the series, it’s 180 pitches or bust. With ‘bust ‘being their labrum.”
Only marginally abusing his pitchers isn’t the only thing Baker is going to try out for this series. “Yeah, dude, I’ve decided to play Corey Patterson in center field and leadoff for the majority of the series. He’s also going to play a little bit of left field, and some second base and shortstop. Probably some third base. And he’s going to close. Speed never slumps, dude.”