This week at MASNsports.com I looked to the past for the next baseball innovation. The 100 inning pitch reliever once was a common sight but it has faded away and pitchers are thought of as either 200 inning pitch starts or 70 inning pitch relievers. Most starters don’t pitch 200 innings and a back of the rotation starter throwing in the low 90’s with only one other average to plus secondary pitch could be better served as a reliever pitching 100 innings in 70 games instead of 160 innings in 30 games. It is a market inefficiency waiting to be exploited.
Look at someone like Nate Karns who debuted last night. At 25 years old he has a good live fastball at 92-95 and a decent slurvey type pitch that sits around 88. Last night he struggled some the second time through the order. This may not be a trend, but at 25 with an average secondary pitch and an above average fastball Karns could be an even better pitcher as a reliever sitting 94-97 and not having to make it a second time through the line-up, and this doesn’t mean he has to pitch around 70 innings or one inning at a time. Karns could easily pitch two or three innings an outing serving as a one man bridge from the starter to the closer. Pair this with the already effective Craig Stammen who could do the same thing and the Nationals could go to a six or even five man bullpen calling up Micah Owings, who has no position other than pinch hitter and Eury Perez who could help the Nats score late runs as a pinch hitter. It really is a smart thing to do, and something that if the Nationals don’t do, some team will.