Four baseball playoff games in one day can often be compared to Christmas – I mean, if you can successfully conflate the birth of Jesus to Yuli Gurriel.
But Monday also gave us 28 pitching changes in those four games, including seven by the Cleveland Franconas alone. Indeed, the games we are seeing are less like the games we watch in April through September than ever.
With the “new” strategic development in bullpen management being “get ‘em out at the first sound of grinding gears,” there have been 123 pitching changes in 16 games (almost four per team per game), and the average start is barely four innings long. Less compelling though interesting given baseball’s pretend obsession with time of game, the 16 playoff games have lasted an average of 3:41, or more than a half-hour longer than the record average of 3:08 in the regular season and 12 minutes more than last year’s postseason.
So the question you, as a disinterested observer, must ask is whether this is the baseball of the future or just the baseball of the postseason. For example, the three Cubs-Nationals games have sped by in a sprightly 3:06, while the Boston-Houston series averaged a hilarious 3:48, so we’re still talking relatively small sample size here.
Still, this isn’t regular season baseball by any known logic or tradition, and maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe desperate managing is more fun. You just can’t do it for six full months unless the roster sizes and all known philosophies about pitching are drastically revamped.
And if you’ve seen the Giants and A’s this year, you’ll know what a horrifying concept that could be.