Monday Morning Coffee Break

Have you ever wondered how many pitchers have thrown pitch counts of 100 or more in games this year in the Southeastern Conference? If so, read on.

There was much debate on my members-only message board about pitch counts after junior lefty Tyler Whitney threw 144 pitches in a 6-1 loss to Tennessee Friday night. That got me to wondering about pitch counts for starting pitchers in SEC games only, especially how many pitchers have thrown 100 or more pitches in SEC games this year? I'm not including non-SEC games in this analysis.

Overall, there have been seventy 100 or more pitch count games thrown by SEC pitchers in weekend SEC games through this past weekend. That's about 39% of all the games when you take into consideration both pitchers in each game.

Leading the way is Alabama and Ole Miss with ten, followed closely by South Carolina with nine and Vanderbilt and LSU with eight. Mississippi State comes in sixth with six. Auburn's and Kentucky's pitchers have recorded five each. Tennessee and Georgia have three while Florida has two and Arkansas has one.

The high pitch count game so far this year is Whitney's 144. While there have been no other 140 or more pitch counts, there have been four in the 130 and higher pitch count range - Alabama's Adam Morgan at 135 and 133, Alabama's Austin Hyatt at 132 and South Carolina's Sam Dyson at 130. To go a little deeper, there have been twelve 120 or higher pitch count games thrown.

Thirteen pitchers have thrown three to five 100 or more pitch count games in SEC action. Leading the way are Alabama's Austin Hyatt and Ole Miss' Phillip Irwin with five a piece. South Carolina's Sam Dyson, Vanderbilt's Mike Minor and Caleb Cotham and LSU's Louis Coleman and Anthony Ranaudo have each thrown four. Six pitchers have thrown three, including Ole Miss' Drew Pomeranz, Auburn's Grant Dayton, Mississippi State's Nick Routt and Tyler Whitney, Georgia's Trevor Holder and South Carolina's Nolan Belcher.

Of the 13 pitchers who have thrown games of 100 or more pitches, seven of them are among the top 10 in earned run average in the SEC going into this weekend. They were ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 10th.

More on Mississippi State's pitchers pitch counts....

Is it unusual for MSU pitchers to throw 100+ pitch count games? Based on the previous three years it's not.

In 2008 Ricky Bowen threw five 100+ pitch count games in SEC action (127, 119, 117, 103, 102) and one in non-SEC play. Even guys who seldom started in the SEC got into the action. Jesse Carver threw one 128 pitch game in a relief role and John Lalor threw a 127 pitch count game. The total number of games that a pitcher threw at least 100 pitches was 11, which is 20% of the total games (11 of 55).

In 2007 Justin Pigott just about threw a 100+ pitch count game in all of his outings, SEC and non-SEC. Twelve of his sixteen starts (SEC and non-SEC) saw him throw 105 or more pitches, including a high of 120. When you include all 100 or more pitch count games thrown in 2007, 40% of the games (SEC and non-SEC) were 100+ pitch count games (24 of 60).

In 2006 Brooks Dunn threw nine games of 106 or more pitches, including four that were at least 120 pitches (120, 122, 123, 124). Pigott, in limited starts, had three 100+ pitch count games, Matt Lea had two and John Lalor one. 15 of the 60 games played that year (25%) were 100+ pitch count games.

So far this season, Mississippi State pitchers have thrown games of 100+ pitches 9 times in the 36 games that MSU has played, which is a 25% rate. Routt has four, Whitney three, Forrest Moore one and Ricky Bowen one.

MSU Misc pitch count information....

Whitney and Routt have been MSU's Friday and Saturday starters the entire season. In SEC games Whitney has thrown 94, 116, 94, 123 and 144 pitches in his five SEC starts while Routt has thrown 64, 123, 110, 119 and 89 in his. Routt's last four games have been complete games of 8, 7, 9 and 8 innings.

Nick Routt's pitch count per inning efficiency....

Speaking of Nick Routt, based on his innings pitched and pitch count per inning, Nick is very likely the most efficient starting pitcher in the SEC when it comes to pitches thrown per inning. In his last four SEC starts (all complete games) his pitch count per inning average has been 15, 16, 13, 11. He's actually decreased it each start except between the 1st and 2nd starts.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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