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Chris Young warms up in the bullpen before a game at Wrigley Field minutes before the 12:05 start (see scoreboard clock).

In baseball or softball, a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although whether they do can depend on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategic reasons.

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 rosters. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.

  1. ^ For an evaluation of the relative merits of a four-man and a five-man rotation, see Rany Jazayerli, "Doctoring The Numbers: The Five-Man Rotation, Part 3," BaseballProspectus.com (August 30, 2002).[1]

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