Jed Hoyer is standing against the back wall of the visitor’s clubhouse deep inside Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians.
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He’s soaked in champagne, and he’s not the only one. It has been less than an hour since the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title in 108 seasons, and everyone in this clubhouse — players, front office types, family members, former Cubs (Ryne Sandberg!) and famous fans (Bill Murray!) — is drenched in champagne and reveling in an unforgettable moment of baseball history.
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There are several possible explanations for those numbers.
Maybe pitchers were getting knocked out earlier because of a corresponding increase in offense; runs were up big time, and the average length of a start last season dropped to 5.6 innings, the lowest figure in the past 10 years. That’s not significantly outside the range of the previous nine seasons, however; starters averaged between 5.8 and 6.0 innings over that time.
Maybe, and this is more plausible, managers were more vigorously protecting their fragile assets and reducing workloads. That can at least explain the increase in starts of between 80 and 99 pitches.
Or maybe, managers weren’t going to allow lesser starters to be exposed and were more willing to mix and match earlier in games.
Cahill was used almost exclusively as a reliever with the Cubs, but he has extensive starting experience. The other pitchers did the majority of their work in 2016 as starters.