It's commonplace to monitor a young hurler's pitch count during an outing, but the Mets have an odd rule in place monitoring their workload in threes.
Pitch counts are a source of heated debate among the baseball community. Young pitchers are too valuable to exhaust early in their careers, but tight limits have not prevented a slew of aces—come back to us, Matt Harvey!—from succumbing to arm ailments.
A year after seeing their top pitching asset require Tommy John surgery, the Mets are understandably wary of Zack Wheeler and their batch of young arms suffering a similar fate. Yet Terry Collins has not given Wheeler a quick hook of late when he's rolling.
According to Adam Rubin, the Mets have a rule not to let young starters exceed 330 pitches over three straight starts. If Collins sticks to this protocol, Wheeler won't have much leeway during Wednesday afternoon's game against the Oakland Athletics.
The #Mets have a "330 rule" -- no more than 330 pitches over 3-start span. Wheeler has tossed 232 in last 2. So you're looking ~ 98 today.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) August 20, 2014
If this is true, the Mets aren't very good at counting. Wheeler has thrown 341 pitches over his past three outings. In three starts on June 30, July 6, and July 13, he fired 338 pitches, seemingly a sign of the club's relinquishing the training wheels in an attempt to stretch him out longer into games.
Jacob deGrom, who is scheduled to return from the disabled list on Saturday, amassed 334 pitches in his final three July starts. He allowed two earned runs in 20⅓ innings, so Collins inched past the guideline. Clearly this is not a hard cap, so don't be surprised if Wheeler gets a chance to surpass 100 pitches against Oakland. And if anything happens, there's always cupping therapy.