Baseball Rotation

Rotations are an important part of pitching strategy and making sure a team's pitchers are in the best possible shape when they step onto the plate. Read on to learn more about pitching rotations in baseball, including what they are and how many pitchers are in an MLB rotation.

Pitching Rotation

A pitching rotation is the order in which pitchers are assigned to games. Starting pitchers are on a rotation, which is fairly similar to a lineup, but with some important adjustments. However, unlike a lineup, the pitchers do not all take their turn in the same game. Rather, the rotation assigns one starting pitcher to each game based on the rotation order.

Number of Pitchers in a Rotation

There are typically five starting pitchers in each rotation. Therefore, each pitcher pitches once every five games in the order that the rotation dictates. As long as no one gets hurt, traded, or suspended, the rotation remains the same for the entire season. The reason for this is because pitching is a very tiring and demanding act, and the rotation ensures that each pitcher has enough time to rest between starts.

Pitching Rotation Rules

  • Rotations assign one starting pitcher per game
  • Pitchers are required to face at least three batters or pitch to end a half-inning before being substituted (with exceptions for illness and injury)
  • MLB pitching rotations typical consist of five different starting pitchers
  • MLB starting pitchers typically get either four or five rest days in between starts
  • Pitching rotations typically stay the same all season unless injuries, trades, or suspensions occur


What is a pitching rotation in baseball?

A pitching rotation is the order in which pitchers start which games. In order to cut down on pitcher exhaustion and even potential injury, starting pitchers follow a rotational order that is set at the beginning of every season. Through this method, each pitcher will typically be the starting pitcher only once every five games.

How many pitchers are in an MLB rotation?

The typical pitching rotation in the MLB features five starting pitchers. Each pitcher takes turns starting games, resulting in at least four rest days in between starts. However, if injuries or other unforeseen circumstances arise, the pitching rotation may get smaller.

How many games do starting pitchers rest?

MLB starting pitchers typically get at least four days of rest in between their starts. Each team carries five starting pitchers, which they rotate through every game. Therefore, there are four other pitchers to go through after one has pitched, meaning the first pitcher will get four days of rest. If the team has a rest day, the rest period between starts may be five days.

How does pitching rotation work in baseball?

In baseball, each team picks their pitching rotation at the beginning of the season and then follows its order from there on. This means that each pitcher starts only every fifth game and can focus on resting the other four games. If there are any injuries, trades, or suspensions, this set order may change.