MLB teams are being wary of injuries and early-season overuse of their pitchers.
They know most players didn’t have a normal spring when it comes to preseason warmups and training: the lockout prevented players from training on their team’s facilities, and while some of them started to prepare well before the lockout ended, that wasn’t the case for everybody.
As a result, they are going little by little with the workload of their pitchers to start the season.
“Seven MLB teams (Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Pirates, Rangers) haven’t yet had a single starter go six innings in a start this season,” Codify Baseball tweeted on Friday afternoon.
Seven MLB teams (Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Pirates, Rangers) haven't yet had a single starter go six innings in a start this season.
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) April 22, 2022
A noteworthy fact about those teams and their pitching usage patterns is that only the Chicago White Sox are expected to be contenders this year: the rest, except for maybe the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, are non-competitive teams in 2022.
MLB Teams Are Prioritizing Health For Their Pitchers
Because of the short spring training and its odd nature (the lockout conditions previously explained), MLB decided that teams would carry 28 players on their roster for the month of April.
That way, they could approach the start of the campaign with more pitchers to help cover for innings.
After the first month, rosters will return to 26 players.
These seven teams are surely taking advantage of the early-season rule, and they are making sure not to overtax their pitchers’ arms this early.
Because of a pitch limit related to the short spring training, the Los Angeles Dodgers denied Clayton Kershaw the opportunity to go for a perfect game with six outs left.
And it made perfect sense: at this point in April, making sure pitchers are healthy is more important than them being fully stretched for their second start.