Should MLB Teams Be Resting Players Before Playoffs?
With the final game of the regular season coming this Sunday, teams that have secured their play-off spot have to ask themselves a question. Should we rest our all-star players?
The Boston Red Sox, Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are all asking themselves this question. Playing 162 games every year wears down even the toughest of athletes. Injuries compound on each other, bruises and scrapes that never seem to go away.
If you followed the playoffs last year, you saw how spectacularly the Detroit Tigers crumbled in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants after 5 days rest from their sweep of the New York Yankees.
But no rest can be just as dangerous. Playing baseball inherently involves risk of injury. Just ask Baltimore Oriole Manny Machado who suffered a medial patellofemoral ligament tear in his left knee while stepping on first base in a non-contact play. The Orioles had to play Machado as they were still in contention at the time (and having since been eliminated).
Some may also argue that resting a player can negatively affect their momentum. Is your lead-off man running a 10 game hitting streak? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Others can argue that rest can do a wealth of good to a player. Getting a break from the mental and physical aspects of the game can help a player reset and come back even stronger.
Some statistics show that even two days of rest doesn’t appear to hinder players at all (Will Carroll – Playoff Health Report).
While not completely providing a player with rest, allowing them to play 3 innings every other day, could help them keep their good energy up, while allowing them the rest they need to let go some of the negatives (mental strain, physical injuries).
Every team who is in the position to make this decision needs to do so carefully and ensure open communication between their players and their managers.