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Pitch Counts and Brandon Morrow.

Back from a weekend away from the Blue Jays, every now and then a guy has to do other things. I did listen to some of Brandon Morrow's start on the radio, while driving. Listening to baseball while driving is one of life's little pleasures, I should have got XM radio long ago.

The bad part was that I had to listen to the Tampa Bay Rays broadcast. Considering that the Rays are on the edge of catching the Red Sox for the Wild Card spot, I thought it was funny that they announcers were far more interested in talking to Cheryl Tiegs, who visited the booth, than they were in the baseball game. 

But the thing they did that bothered me was they went on and on about how many pitches Brandon Morrow had thrown in the first and second innings and how there was no way he'd make it to the 5th. It always surprises me when people who watch so much baseball, like radio announcers do, understand it so little.

Brandon did throw a bunch of pitches in the first inning, 29, but then that's not unusual for a power pitcher at the start of the game. He comes in throwing hard and the batters can't get a bat on the ball. Of the 29 pitches, only 2 pitches were even fouled off. There were a bunch of swinging strikes but no one could touch him. 

Add in that he, the umpire and the batters are just finding out where the strike zone is going to be, often there are going to be a bunch of pitches the first inning. The first inning is when the pitcher has to test where the edges of the strike zone are. Add in that sometimes it takes an bit for the pitcher to get the release point down. Brandon struck out the side in the first (with a couple of walks) and struck out the side in the second (with a ground ball single). We know he isn't going to strikeout 27 batters today, why don't the announcers know the same thing. It is a very normal thing for Brandon to throw a bunch of pitches in the first inning. 

3rd inning, he gets through with 12 pitches and 4th it is 10 pitches and he's on his way to a nice 7 inning start. And the announcers look dumb because they figured that Brandon would throw 29 pitches every inning. 

I'm sort of all for following pitch counts, I think it is an nice short cut for us fans who can't see all the little signs of a pitcher starting to fatigue. But I really don't want to hear about pitch counts in the first couple of innings of a game. I can use my eyes and see if a pitcher is in trouble in the first couple of innings, I don't need a pitch count telling me. I also know that you can't just take the number of pitches throw in the first inning and divid that into 100 to tell how deep in a game a pitcher is going to go. 

I expect announcers to know that too.