Glenn Abbott Talks Pitching

PORTLAND, OR: The Portland Beavers are having a resurgent season. Through 116 games, they've already surpassed the 58 wins they had all of last season by three. Their offense and defense have improved and so has their pitching.

The team ERA is 5.10, 10th in the PCL (up from 12th a year ago), and they also have a number of individuals performing well. Josh Geer is second in innings pitched with 137, Edwin Moreno is fourth in saves (14), and Chad Reineke is fourth in strikeouts (110). The Beaver's pitching coach is Glenn Abbott, an 11-year major league veteran. He talks about his young staff and the way pitching has changed since he played.

Overall, how do you think the pitching has been thus far?

Glenn Abbott: We started out tough, but we got a lot of young pitchers starting out here. They've grown; we're better than we were the first half, I know that. The young guys have made the adjustment.

I feel good the way they've been pitching the second half – Geer, (Cesar) Ramos, and (Wade) LeBlanc. I was a little disappointed overall for the year [in that] we haven't made [good] pitches with men on base. We made way too [many] good pitches to hit. They're better than that. I think they should be making better quality pitches than what we've made there.

Is it hard handling the staff when different pitches are constantly coming and going?

Glenn Abbott: That's just part of it, I don't think of it that way because I know the guys who have come back have good attitudes and that's all you ask for. They've been in the right frame of mind when they've gotten here. It's just how their attitude is when they come back, and we've had good attitudes.

It seems like, at least on the major league level, teams are lucky if they get six innings out of a starter. Do you think that's a trend that will continue?

Glenn Abbott: I do because of the pitch count. They keep a 100 pitch count. Most guys are sitting on 100 pitches after five or six innings.

Why do you think so much emphasis is put on the 100-pitch mark?

Glenn Abbott: I think everybody's so conscious about the arm problems and stuff like that, but I don't know why they're having more arm problems than they used to have. It used to be if you're getting them out you stayed in the ball game. I don't know what the answer is: if I did, I'd probably be a rich man. I wish I knew, but the pitch count, that's they way baseball is and guys are not getting deep in ballgames.

How do you feel about the closer role? Should a closer be able to go more than one inning?

Glenn Abbott: It seems like that's the way the game's starting to evolve. I remember one time seeing in the paper when [Dennis] Eckersley saved 52 games one year, something like that. They were comparing him and Rollie Fingers when Rollie led the league that year with like 28 saves. Rollie threw 120 or 130 innings and Eckersley threw 60.

You look at some of these relievers like a [Goose] Gossage, I don't know if these relievers now could do [what he did] because [of] the way they've been trained when they've been coming up. I just don't know if they could handle that.

Look at [Mariano] Rivera. As great as he is, they're really cautious about him getting even four outs. You don't see that, but you used to. I remember when I played you had relievers coming in, they were good ones like Fingers and Gossage, they're coming in in the seventh or eighth inning. They're coming in to close the door. That's just the way the game's evolved. I don't know if it's good or bad, that's the way things have changed.

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