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"Did We Put Too Many Miles On Our Gio?" And Other Queries

So you may have heard of something called the Verducci effect, which says (and I'm paraphrasing here) that if your player wears a green uniform that is offset by a yellow tint he will almost certainly get injured. It might also suggest something about 30+ IP jumps in the number of innings thrown -- honestly, who has time to read carefully?

Gio Gonzalez experienced a jump in IP this season that puts him, statistically, at perhaps a higher risk of possible injury maybe. 200 innings is a lot. Unless you pitch in the '70s, in which case it's really nothing and you stay healthy. Let's face it: What we most know about keeping starting pitchers healthy is that we don't know a whole lot about it.

It's bizarre. Some pitchers -- notably in Japan -- believe in throwing every day to keep their arm strong and healthy, and thrive under these practices. In my lifetime, 4-man rotations, and 300 IP seasons, were the norm. Unless you want to go back even farther to when Hoss Radbourn put up a really solid season, with an ERA of just 1.38. Over 678.2 IP. OK, it was 1884, but come on -- the mound was still 60 feet 6 inches from the plate, and a guy with a stick was still trying to hit it. How could pitching have been that different? Radbourn made 73 starts that season; he finished all of them.

In Gio's last start, his velocity was good, his stuff was crisp, and if his arm felt ok then who is Verducci to tell the A's that it's time to wimp out? Well, he's Verducci and pitchers who increase their innings totals by 30+ tend to -- as a group, mind you, not necessarily individually -- be more prone to injury than those who don't. Except for the pitchers who do everything right and get hurt anyway. And the ones who stay healthy, while throwing too many pitches and too many innings too many times.

I'm interested in what factors you think most explain why pitchers, today, in the US, seem to experience Arm Falloff Syndrome if they -- gasp -- throw 31 more IP than they did last year, while in Japan, the '70s, and the 1880s, guys seem to be able to throw the ball more often and longer, only to get stronger as a result.

Arm Falloff Syndrome might not be a real affliction, but Exploding Head Syndrome is. Don't believe me? I kid you not. Let's be careful out there, ok?

And why does Brian Sabean get raked over the coals for the dumb signings of Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria, but then get no credit for the discovery of Andres Torres, the smart additions of Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Pat Burrell, and the farm scouting and development of Lincecum (on whom 9 teams passed), Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Brian Wilson (a 24th round pick), and Buster Posey? You don't "get lucky" a bunch of times, but the things that worked out badly, well, they were just stupid. Give the guy credit for the successes, and then go ahead and lambaste him for the stupid stuff.

All of which is to say, congratulations to the Giants for a season that has been both successful and entertaining. I know many on here loathe the Giants, while some are neutral and a few support both Bay Area teams. No matter: The Giants deserve congratulations for having the season we wanted the A's to have. Next year, folks. Next year.

See you at 7pm for the season's penultimate game...