Only 13 major leaguers besides Kluber and Scherzer worked at least 200 innings this season. With so many power arms in the bullpen, Kluber said, he understands why teams de-emphasize starters.
“There’s so many good relief pitchers who have the ability to go out there and dominate that managers are just trying to do what they feel is the best to help win the game,” Kluber said. “I don’t know if that’s necessarily the starting pitcher; to me, it’s more so that they feel like the relievers are so good, and I agree with that.”
Scherzer largely did, too, but he said he still believes the ideal innings range for a top starter is 200 to 230. He said starters must concentrate on developing enough quality pitches so they have different ways to attack the same hitters three or four times in a game.
“I’ve always been a big believer that, even if it’s only once a month, you do need to really tax your pitch count to an extreme level — to 120, really push it,” he said, “because sometimes you learn more about yourself as a pitcher in the pitches after 100 than you do the first 100.”