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Starting pitcher
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Starting pitcher

In baseball or softball, a starting pitcher is the pitcher who pitches the first pitch to the first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher.

In professional baseball, starting pitchers are generally the highest paid players on the team. A manager of a baseball team would like the starting pitcher to pitch as many innings as possible in a game. Most regular starting pitchers pitch for at least five innings on a regular basis, as if they are unable to do so, there is a high probability they will be moved to the bullpen. In modern baseball, starting pitchers are rarely expected to pitch for more than 7 or 8 innings, when games are passed to setup men and closers. Often times, starting pitchers are on a pitch count, meaning the manager will seek to remove them from the game once they have thrown a specific number of pitches. The most common pitch count for modern pitchers is 100. Pitch counts are especially common for starting pitchers which are recovering from injury.

A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three or four days after pitching a game before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four or five starting pitchers on their roster. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.

Starting pitchers usually have at least three good pitches—a fastball, a breaking pitch such as a curveball, and a changeup.

Some of the most well known starting pitchers are Bob Gibson, Bob Feller, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson.

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