New Rule Change Proposed for the Major Leagues

If the first relief pitcher in place of a starter blows a game for a starting pitcher and ends up getting the win, the credited victory should not go to the relief pitcher who blew the lead.

It happened again last night in the Mets-Cubs game. A starting pitcher leaves after seven innings with the lead, and then the bullpen comes in a blows the lead. In this case it was Bobby Parnell of the Mets going seven strong (109 pitches), before being relieved to start the 8th inning by Brian Stokes.  

Now, after a pretty decent season where he was solid save for a couple of bad appearances, Stokes had the wheels fall off August 28, when he allowed four runs in one-third of an inning, blowing Pat Misch opportunity for his first ever victory. Then on September 2nd, he allowed three more runs in one-third of an inning, allowing three hits and three walks.

Last night was brutal again. Stokes was blowing a lead and the win for Parnell, who needed a good appearance AND A WIN to get the confidence back.

After Stokes blew Parnell’s lead, the juggernaut Mets offense burned the Cubs bullpen for five runs to turn a 2-2 tie game into a 7-2 Mets lead. And with the Mets holding on for a 7-3 win (Stokes needed K-Rod help in the 9th), Stokes ended up getting credit for the victory.

Make no mistake, if a pitcher throws well like Parnell did last night, but does not get the win, he doesn’t feel good about the performance. How can he feel good? You will here starting pitchers say, ” I threw the ball well and kept us in the game long enough to where were able to win, and that is the most important thing.”

One work for that – bullshit. Parnell needed to get that win last night to build him up. A no decision means nothing.

For a team like the 2009 New York Mets, it is not the important thing for a team just to win a meaningless game. It is important for the young starter to pitch well and GET THE VICTORY. For a starter to give seven strong innings, and show nothing for it is useless.

And this is not a knock on Jerry Manuel in removing Parnell after seven innings and 109 pitches, because the Mets are only trying to save a young mans arm (snicker, snicker, cough, cough). Although a starting pitcher should be require to continue going until he gets in trouble. Personally, I would have run Parnell out there again in the eighth. How are young pitcher to learn how to go deep into game, if they aren’t allowed to go deep into games?

Bu this is not about the removing of pitchers too early. It is about the fact that a relief pitcher can blow a lead for a pitcher, and gets the win when his team scores runs the VERY NEXT INNING.

Phil Coke of the Yankees got two wins that way this season. The first time was on July 26 against Oakland, while the second was on August 9th versus the Red Sox. It was after that Red Sox game was when I first came up with the idea. The photo accompanying this piece is from that August 9th appearance.

So, my rule has to do when a relief pitcher comes in for the starting pitcher to BEGIN AN INNING, blows the lead any time while he is pitching, and his team comes back to take the lead while he is the pitcher of record. If their team ends up winning the game without giving up the lead again, then the starting pitcher should get credited with the win.

So, in last night’s game, Parnell goes seven innings, and leaves the mound with the lead. In comes Stokes to start the eighth inning, blows the lead, and then the Mets score a bunch of runs to take the lead when Stokes is pitcher of record. The Mets hold on and Stokes gets the win.

With my new rule change, the starting pitcher (Bobby Parnell inthis case) would still get the win as he gave the team all those effective innings.

With pitchers ever more reliant on the bullpen now (since managers almost never let starting pitchers go the distance), the starters should not be penalized because a garbage middle reliever can not do his job.

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