Robin Roberts. They sure don't
make them like they used to.
Although finishing games seems to now be more uncommon at all levels, there are some things pitchers can do to be able to pitch deeper into games and possibly complete them. Being an overpowering, strike throwing pitcher is certainly the best way but for all other mortals, here are some tips:
More first pitch strikes. A pitcher who is good at this should be around the 70% mark with first pitch strikes. Throwing low strikes early accomplishes a goal that I'm a big fan of: get the batter to put the ball in play within three pitches. Do that and your pitch totals will start to drop making it more likely you will pitch later into games. As Crash Davis said ...
Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.
Be careful how much you
throw out in the pen.
Use pre-inning pitches as needed. The rules state that a pitcher gets 5 pitches between innings and 8 if it's the first inning or the pitcher has just entered the game. There is no rule that says a pitcher must use all those pitches. On most warm summer days/nights I would hope to throw only three pitches between innings and have the catcher throw the third one down to second base. If I felt I needed more, I'd use them but if my arm was loose there was no need to throw them just to throw them. I'd rather save them for later. On another note, hitters hate this which is another reason to do it. No sooner have they put their glove down and put on a helmet does the ump say "we need a batter." When batters feel rushed, the pitcher has the advantage.
Get off the field
and sit down!
Stay on the mound. I wrote about the advantages of staying on the mound when you pitch in a post called Pitching Mistakes. Click HERE to go back and read how it helps pitchers.
Sit down. Between innings, go right to the bench and sit down. Conserve as much energy as you can. Get a drink, put on a jacket or wrap a towel around your arm and sit down. Save your energy for later in the game.
It may be tough to throw a complete game but utilizing all these tips might just add an inning or two to your starts.