Yeah there was no week that was. I am still angry with Rox, therefore they get no love from me. And to think the Giants are still playing. Rox were 20-21 against playoff teams this year (including Twins). I think we belonged...nuff said
I am a huge fan of Nolan Ryan. The man was pitching. Sure statistically he doesn't fall into the category of the game's best but for his longetivity and his power to strikeout opposing batters made him a sight to see. He owned a 9.5 strikeout per 9 innings pitched for a career. Led the league in strikeouts 11 times and the last season he did this was when he was 43!
In the New York Times Magazine (10/3/10 edition), there is a nice article about him taking over the Rangers. In the article, it mentions that he is trying to fashion the Rangers' pitchers into his own image. Increasing the innings pitched and balls thrown per game. So in 773 starts, Ryan pitched an average of almost 7 innings a game. Pitch counts weren't used for his whole career (data only available from 1988 on) but from the time he was 41 until he retired at 46, he pitched 161 games averaging 6.2 innings and 108 pitches thrown. The graph below shows pretty clearly that when you went to Nolan's game you got your money's worth seeing him pitched; and to think these games were in the twilight of his career (41 - 46)!
So yeah Nolan liked to labor. So do the new look Rangers follow this pattern? Hard to say at this point. Without looking too closely I did track down on baseball-reference the number of times a pitcher in the big leagues threw more than 101+ pitches and then compared this to the overall number of starts. The graph below shows this along with the Rangers last ten years.
The grey dots represent the MLB. So for instance in 2010, 4860 games were started and of those 2243 games had a pitcher go 101+ pitches. In this same year, the Rangers went 87 starts with 101+ innings. Since 2008 the Rangers have shown an increase in the number of pitches thrown but their trend is also seen with MLB as a whole so maybe everyone is trying to emulate the Express?