The irony is that more days off produce more pitcher scarcity in October than in the rest of the season. For most of the year, starters go five or six innings every fifth day, the good relievers cover their one inning when their team is up three runs or fewer, and managers don’t ask for much more. Occasionally a closer has pitched three days in a row and might be unavailable; occasionally extra innings demand a second inning from a high-leverage reliever, who might then be unavailable; occasionally a starter is pitching so well you might like to keep him in longer but for his high pitch count. Occasionally. But for the most part, managers have the pitchers they want pitching when they want them to pitch.
While it’s impossible to analyze Chamberlain’s own play, there is evidence that, in general, players perform worse when in foul trouble. A 2011 study found that teams underperform when they leave starters in foul trouble in the game, which makes sense logically — a player concerned about fouling won’t be as effective defensively as one who can play without fear of fouling.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has lobbied for sports betting to be legalized and regulated across the country. You have an interesting perspective as the owner of the Golden Nugget casinos and now the Rockets. What’s your view on this issue?
“I consider this normal rest for me,” Bauer said. “If I could draw it out personally, this is how I’d pitch every time. Take my normal two days’ recovery after my start and then do my day-before routine today and then roll it out there tomorrow. So I’m feeling very confident where I’m at.”
After going 7-7 with a 5.24 ERA in the first half, Bauer picked up the pace and went 10-2 with a 3.01 ERA after the All-Star break.
Bauer went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Yankees during the regular season before his gem in the ALDS opener.