122 Pitches! The Horror!

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The jury is still out on whether Thomas Diamond will be a decent starting pitcher and if he'll be part of the Cubs' rotation in 2011, but with the Cubs 14 games under .500 with 54 to play there is no time like the present to find out.

And if Diamond fails to reach his potential or, worse, breaks down, it won't be because Lou Piniella let him throw 122 pitches in Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to Milwaukee.

I dislike pitch counts and find Phil Rogers' obsession with them to be annoying.

Piniella's reluctance to remove Diamond before the seventh inning was not an act of desperation, as Rogers characterized it.

I'd guess it had more to do with the tattered condition of his bullpen which was bombed in a 17-2 loss on Friday at Colorado and an 18-1 setback against the Brewers on Monday, and also worked overtime on Sunday when Carlos Silva exited after four batters.

By working six strong innings, Diamond gave an overworked, increasingly inexperienced, and underachieving bullpen somewhat of a break.

Rogers better get used to 120-plus pitch counts because it seems that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. A new generation of pitchers is busting through the artificial barrier more frequently than in recent years.

One notable exception is Washington's Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals have been cautious with the phenom since signing him last year - to the extent of announcing a 160-inning limit on him this season.

None of that pampering prevented him from landing on the disabled list last week.

The babied Strasburg said that his shoulder inflammation was a case of him "kind of hitting the wall a little bit." He has pitched a whopping total of 54 1/3 major league innings.

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