ST. LOUIS -- The year is 2019. And people who follow baseball still express skepticism about the need to protect pitchers' arms.
That's how I began phrasing the question for Clint Hurdle on this Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium, the day after he and the Pirates made multiple decisions to protect pitchers' arms that might or might not have contributed to a miserable 9-6 loss to the Rangers back at PNC Park when Michael Feliz blew up a four-run lead in the eighth inning.
The rest of my question: Will the broader baseball culture, particularly on the outside, ever accept that a pitcher flat-out wasn't available to participate in a given game?
"I hear it a lot," Hurdle opened his reply. "As long as you win, nobody asks."
Well, I came back, there's that.
"That's the biggest part of it, though, if you really want to get real. And truthfully, most of the people who ask, do they really care about the person's health? Do they care how many pitches they've thrown? Do they really care? Do they know how many pitches Liriano's thrown in the past six days?"