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Astros Pitching: Get Your Rest!

As I wrote the "Astros Pitching- Step Two- How to FIX Problems" article one of the ideas shown there was the impact of rest on the starting pitching. I felt like that subject could really use some more discussion and context relative to last year as well.

Obviously, 2022 was one of the best pitching years in Astros history. One underappreciated fact is how much rest the pitchers got as there was balance, and the aces did what they do- eat innings. Here is the 2022 Astros staff perf0rmance relative to the rest they got before pitching. (Data is this article from Baseball Reference- GS - Game Started, GR - Game in Relief)

Looking back, it is just remarkable- almost every number is AWESOME. Here are a few interesting notes we can see that I will show you apply to 2023.

  1. Notice only 15% of games were started on 4-days rest and 30% were started on 6-days rest or more. In 2022, the team used a 6-man rotation for a significant part of the season.

  2. Notice also how only 41% of relief appearances were made on zero or one day of rest.

  3. The Relief pitchers were FAR less effective on zero days rest than they were with more rest.

  4. This seems intuitively obvious but generally relief pitchers with more rest pitch longer.

How does similar data look for 2023 so far?

  1. There are actually slightly LESS 4 days rest starts.

  2. There are significantly less 6+ days rest starts- 30% vs. 20%.

  3. There are more zero rest days relief appearances. The performance in 2023 has not suffered- YET.

  4. There are more one day rest relief appearances.

  5. The combined zero- and one-day rest relief appearances is 48% vs. 41%. I THINK that is very significant and plays into the relief pitcher usage issue we have discussed.

I think it also helps to look at some of the starters here because some are more impacted than others.

Bielak seems to really need more rest.

Javier should be given five days off WHENEVER possible.

Valdez is a freak (I mean this in the best way possible. Pitch him whenever you need to.

Urquidy seems to benefit from the extra rest.

What does it all mean? I think the solutions I discussed in "Astros Pitching- Step Two- How to FIX Problems" article are imperative for the starters and relief pitchers in 2023.

Watch the video below and I will run through the relief pitchers as well.

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