I've been meaning for a long time (as in, a week or so) to write an article about the Rays and their ambivalence to pitch counts. The Rays have been working their starters hard over the beginning of this season (although not as much recently), and all five starters have had multiple outings of over 100 pitches thrown. Since most teams ease their pitchers into the season, I've heard some analysts (notably on MLB Network) comment upon the Rays' unorthodox style and how it might come back to bite them in the tush.
I personally think this concern over early season pitch counts is a load of hogwash, but I'm also afraid that it could blow up into a big story in the future. We all know that the Rays' starters are pitching well so far this season, and that they've also gotten very lucky in many regards. Imagine now that come the middle of the season, one or two of the Rays' starters get knocked around a couple times in a row. Instead of discussing how the players were over-performing before, what do you think the media will latch onto? That's right: pitch counts. The Rays have overused these poor young arms and are simply paying the price. Tsk tsk tsk, shame on them.
So to nip any of that talk in the bud, I'd like to tell you why you shouldn't worry. Well, more to the point, I'll let R.J. Anderson and Jonah Keri tell you why not to worry; after reading their articles on the subject, I felt like any attempt I made would have paled in comparison. Please, read up and enjoy:
Game, set, match.