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suggestions to keep games from happening where each team uses nine pitchers
#2 -- sure, but that just suggests letting your top 2-3 starters go 6-8 innings and use rotating relievers on the other days.
I don't care if baseball teams want to run a bunch a pitchers out there - provided they're making between-inning changes rather than mid-inning changes. If the latter type of pitching changes become even more common, start requiring pitchers who get called in to face two or more batters (or three or more) before they can exit. And if they try any injury funny business, then that pitcher is not eligible to pitch for at least three games, which should be the rule now anyway.
But they can make all the between-inning changes they want. They don't do anything to substantially slow the game down, and you can take steps to ensure they don't do anything to slow the game down at all.
It's actually really easy. All you have to do is add a little rule that no more than 10, or maybe 11 spots on the 25 man roster can be used by pitchers.
It's more a matter of roster spots than anything. Also there's no evidence that pitchers can withstand throwing 2+ innings every 2-3 days -- the number of repeat reliever seasons over 100 IP is pretty short. Unless we're going to have 20-man pitching staffs, you can't go 2-2-2-1-1-1 every day. Every team would still have to carry 2-3 guys whose job is to go at least 5-6 innings in their starts. If you don't have 2-3 actually good SP, you might rotate 4-5 mediocre guys through those 2-3 slots, trying to get matchups in some starts and using them in the bullpen otherwise.
It seems to me that a lot of teams currently only have 2-3 guys who can give them 5-6 high quality innings every fifth day.
That might be true, but according to Bill James in TFV, teams are emphasizing regular work over effectiveness.
Surely there must be some pitchers who could thrive in a one time through the order every third or fourth day role.
Currently, anyone on the roster can be used at any position. Are you proposing that that rule changes as well, so that there really is a rules-defined thing as a "pitcher" besides "the person who is pitching"? That is, there are 10 or 11 people who are allowed to pitch, and the other 14 or 15 are not?
There is evidence they can do this on occasion.
It's something of a miracle that teams manage it at all. Like I said, relievers throw about 490 innings in a season as is, yet almost no relievers throw even 70 innings in a year (just 34 in 2012). With seven bullpen slots and 1-2 actually throwing their share, how do they get there? By recycling guys in and out from the minors, on and off the DL and on and off the waiver wire.
Very few pitchers survive for long, even as 1-inning relievers. There is no evidence that pitchers (as a class) can handle a regular relief load in excess of 70-80 innings. This is not to say it's impossible -- if pitchers can hold up going 6 innings every 5th-6th day maybe they can handle 5 innings every 4th day or 4 innings every 3rd day. But we have no evidence this can be done.
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