How Pitch Counts Have Changed Pitchers’ Stat Lines

Ball8StatsPitch counts ain’t what they used to be.

In the last 20 years, the number of games in which pitchers have thrown 125 pitches or more has fallen precipitously:

  • 2014: 17 games (including three by Cole Hamels) and none more than 133 (Hamels)
  • 2004: 65 games, and 11 games with 133 or more pitches
  • 1993*: 304 games, including 109 games with 133 or more pitches

Randy Johnson threw 158, 150, 148, 147, 145, 144, 144, 143, 141, 137, 136, 129, 129 and 128 pitches in games in 1993, when he pitched 255.1 innings for the Mariners.

In his 158-pitch game (a 3-2 complete game loss to the A’s) Johnson struck out 14 and walked eight. He threw 87 strikes and 71 balls – and the Mariners manager Lou Piniella never went to the bullpen.

Which leads us to today’s list, uncovered by Jon Becker (@mlbrandomfandom) of the Ball Eight research department: Pitchers since 1988** who threw 125 pitches or more while striking out at least 10 batters while walking five or more.

As you will see, this just doesn’t happen any more (in fact, no pitcher has thrown 125 pitches, walked five and struck out 10 since 2007 – and only 11 times since the turn of the century). This list illustrates just how – nder the watchful eye of King Pitch Count – pitchers aren’t allowed to work in and out of trouble like they used to.

Here’s the full list:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str GSc
1 Ron Villone 2000-09-29 CIN STL W 8-1 CG 9, W 9.0 2 1 0 5 16 150 90 92
2 Randy Johnson 1993-09-16 SEA KCR W 14-1 GS-8, W 7.1 1 1 1 6 15 141 85 81
3 A.J. Burnett 2005-07-06 FLA MIL W 5-4 GS-6 6.0 4 4 4 5 14 125 74 57
4 Randy Johnson 1997-07-13 SEA TEX L 2-4 GS-7 7.0 5 2 2 5 14 131 83 68
5 Jason Bere 1994-06-13 CHW OAK W 1-0 GS-8, W 8.0 2 0 0 6 14 127 68 86
6 Randy Johnson 1993-06-24 SEA OAK L 2-3 CG 9, L 9.0 4 3 2 8 14 158 87 75
7 Oliver Perez 2002-07-07 SDP COL W 7-1 GS-7, W 6.2 1 0 0 5 13 126 79 80
8 Orlando Hernandez 1998-08-13 NYY TEX W 2-0 GS-9, W 8.1 2 0 0 5 13 136 79 87
9 Kerry Wood 1998-05-29 CHC ATL W 5-3 GS-7 7.0 5 2 2 6 13 129 70 66
10 Pedro Martinez 1997-08-20 MON STL L 3-6 GS-7 6.2 3 2 0 6 13 127 78 71
11 Randy Johnson 1994-07-27 SEA DET L 1-3 CG 8, L 8.0 5 3 3 5 13 144 90 68
12 Randy Johnson 1992-08-15 SEA MIN W 3-2 CG 9, W 9.0 4 2 2 7 13 159 90 77
13 Jose de Jesus 1991-08-31 PHI ATL W 5-0 GS-8, W 8.0 3 0 0 6 13 150 84 83
14 David Cone 1991-06-04 NYM CIN W 4-2 GS-8, W 8.0 4 2 0 5 13 147 86 78
15 Bobby Witt 1991-05-04 TEX DET W 6-5 GS-8 7.2 5 5 5 6 13 137 78 56
16 Nolan Ryan 1989-08-10 TEX DET W 4-1 GS-9, W 8.1 2 1 1 6 13 148 93 82
17 Chuck Finley 2002-09-01 STL CHC L 4-5 GS-8, L 7.0 5 5 5 5 12 131 80 54
18 Mike Hampton 1998-08-25 HOU ATL W 3-2 GS-8, W 8.0 6 2 2 5 12 130 75 69
19 Randy Johnson 1998-07-28 SEA CLE L 3-4 CG 9, L 9.0 4 4 4 6 12 142 91 69
20 Sid Fernandez 1990-09-14 NYM PHI L 1-4 GS-8, L 7.1 4 4 4 5 12 133 81 61
21 Mike Scott 1988-04-26 HOU PHI W 3-1 GS-8, W 8.0 3 1 1 5 12 135 77 79
22 Robert Person 1999-08-20 PHI LAD L 5-8 GS-9 8.2 3 4 4 5 11 140 83 68
23 Randy Johnson 1999-08-11 ARI CHC W 7-5 GS-8 8.0 6 3 2 6 11 140 87 65
24 Jesus Sanchez 1998-09-19 FLA NYM L 3-4 GS-7, L 7.0 6 4 3 7 11 127 73 55
25 Pedro Martinez 1998-06-16 BOS CHW W 6-1 GS-7, W 7.0 4 1 1 5 11 140 85 71
Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str GSc
26 Randy Johnson 1998-05-03 SEA DET W 10-6 GS-7, W 7.0 8 6 6 5 11 142 84 43
27 Kevin Appier 1997-06-05 KCR TEX L 3-6 GS-9 9.0 4 3 3 5 11 143 93 73
28 Byung-Hyun Kim 2007-08-01 FLA COL W 4-3 GS-6, W 5.1 5 2 2 6 10 126 74 54
29 Kelvim Escobar 2003-09-24 TOR TBD W 5-3 GS-7, W 7.0 8 2 2 5 10 131 80 58
30 Ryan Dempster 2001-07-19 FLA NYM W 8-3 GS-6, W 6.0 6 3 2 5 10 125 74 55
31 Randy Wolf 2001-05-05 PHI SFG W 4-2 GS-7, W 7.0 7 2 2 6 10 138 79 59
32 Jay Witasick 2000-09-05 SDP MIL W 3-1 GS-8, W 7.2 3 1 0 5 10 128 74 76
33 Sterling Hitchcock 2000-04-30 SDP ATL L 4-7 GS-8, L 7.1 6 5 4 5 10 140 76 53
34 Chuck Finley 2000-04-24 CLE SEA W 6-0 GS-8, W 8.0 2 0 0 7 10 125 67 81
35 Jay Witasick 1999-09-17 KCR OAK W 9-3 GS-7, W 6.1 5 3 3 5 10 128 71 56
36 Chan Ho Park 1998-09-10 LAD SDP W 4-3 GS-7, W 7.0 5 3 3 7 10 135 74 58
37 Shawn Estes 1998-06-25 SFG OAK L 2-5 GS-7, L 6.1 5 4 3 6 10 127 80 53
38 Bartolo Colon 1998-06-21 CLE NYY W 11-0 GS-8, W 8.0 3 0 0 5 10 139 74 81
39 Tim Wakefield 1997-06-05 BOS MIL W 2-1 GS-9, W 8.2 7 1 0 7 10 169 97 71
40 Andy Benes 1996-08-26 STL HOU W 3-2 GS-7, W 7.0 5 2 2 5 10 130 74 64
41 David Cone 1995-09-23 (1) NYY DET W 5-2 GS-8, W 8.0 4 2 2 6 10 139 84 70
42 Jim Abbott 1995-09-19 CAL OAK L 2-3 GS-7 7.0 5 1 1 5 10 127 73 68
43 Cal Eldred 1994-06-11 MIL CLE L 2-5 GS-8, L 8.0 4 5 5 5 10 135 85 59
44 Tim Wakefield 1992-07-31 PIT STL W 3-2 CG 9, W 9.0 6 2 0 5 10 146 80 76
45 Greg Maddux 1992-07-27 CHC PIT W 3-2 GS-8, W 8.0 6 2 2 6 10 142 76 66
46 David Cone 1992-07-22 NYM LAD W 7-5 GS-6, W 6.0 8 5 5 5 10 132 77 41
47 Nolan Ryan 1991-10-06 TEX OAK W 4-2 GS-7 7.0 3 2 2 5 10 128 76 68
48 Jose Guzman 1991-06-30 TEX CAL W 2-1 CG 9, W 9.0 2 1 1 5 10 129 71 84
49 Tommy Greene 1991-05-23 PHI MON W 2-0 SHO9, W 9.0 0 0 0 7 10 130 77 90
50 Bobby Witt 1990-09-01 TEX OAK W 3-2 GS-7, W 7.0 4 2 2 10 10 137 74 61
Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str GSc
51 John Smoltz 1990-07-18 ATL PHI L 3-4 GS-8, L 7.2 6 4 4 6 10 128 74 55
52 Bobby Witt 1990-07-18 TEX BAL W 7-1 GS-7, W 7.0 5 1 1 5 10 127 78 68
53 David Cone 1989-09-29 (2) NYM PIT W 7-0 SHO9, W 9.0 3 0 0 5 10 140 87 86
54 Mark Langston 1989-07-03 MON ATL W 3-0 SHO9, W 9.0 2 0 0 5 10 141 80 88
55 Frank Viola 1989-06-13 MIN SEA W 4-3 GS-8 8.0 7 3 3 5 10 143 83 61
56 Frank Tanana 1989-06-09 DET TOR L 0-2 CG 8, L 8.0 8 2 1 5 10 137 75 65
57 Al Leiter 1989-04-14 NYY MIN W 8-5 GS-8, W 8.0 5 5 3 9 10 163 91 57
58 Orel Hershiser 1989-04-10 LAD SFG W 7-4 GS-8, W 8.0 6 3 3 5 10 130 73 63
59 Chuck Finley 1988-06-24 CAL MIL L 4-5 GS-9 9.0 7 3 3 5 10 145 87 66
60 Roger Clemens 1988-05-14 BOS SEA W 3-0 SHO9, W 9.0 3 0 0 5 10 145 87 86
61 Jack Morris 1988-04-14 DET TEX L 1-2 CG 9, L 9.0 8 2 2 9 10 161 89 64

* We picked 1993 because 1994 was shortened by the strike. Apples and apples and all that.

** We picked 1988 because Baseball-Reference’s pitch count totals are complete back to 1988. Before that, they are spotty (but take a look Sandy Koufax’s pitch counts).

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