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It happens every year. You're cruising along without a care in the world when, suddenly, your best pitcher ... just stops pitching.

OK, so full shutdowns are no longer as common a method of innings management as skipped turns and early hooks, but teams that fall out the race are still known to hit the brakes from time to time. The bottom line is that you want to be prepared. The start of the second half is a good time to take stock of where younger pitchers are with their innings and potentially make some moves before the curtailing begins en masse.

Like, would you dare trade Shane McClanahan, who's been arguably the best pitcher in Fantasy to this point but is already nearing a career-high in innings? What about Alek Manoah? In both cases, you'd probably want another surefire ace in return (maybe more in McClanahan's case) to avoid selling low, but now is the time to consider such a move, before it's obvious to everyone what's happening.

Generally, an increase of 40-60 innings from one year to the next is acceptable, though it's not a hard-and-fast rule. Presuming a five-man rotation, most pitchers have 13 turns left. At five innings a start, that's 65 innings. Using that criteria, I've identified 18 pitchers who might not hold up. It doesn't mean they'll all be shut down, of course. For each, I offer my concern level as well as a description for how things could possibly play out. It's up to you to make a judgment call from there.

To preempt some of the what-abouts, I also considered Carlos Rodon, Kyle Wright, Triston McKenzie and Aaron Ashby for this exercise but decided they weren't at major risk of a shutdown or even a slowdown.

Note: Innings counts include minor-league and postseason totals. This year's are up to date through Monday, July 25.

Pitchers at risk
CLE Cleveland • #57 • Age: 27
Risk level
Low
This year
111.2
Last year
102.2
Career high
214.1
Bieber was one of the premier innings-eaters before his shoulder injury a year ago, but him suffering that injury gives the Guardians cause for caution, particularly if they fall out of the race.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #65 • Age: 28
Risk level
Medium
This year
101.2
Last year
108
Career high
115
The Yankees' big lead gives them the luxury of mixing in young arms like JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk down the stretch to keep vital playoff contributors like Cortes fresh.
LAA L.A. Angels • #48 • Age: 23
Risk level
High
This year
75
Last year
62
Career high
Surpassed
The Angels' six-man rotation will naturally space out Detmers' starts a little, but since he's already in uncharted territory for innings, you should expect them to cap him at 120 or so.
SEA Seattle • #36 • Age: 25
Risk level
Medium
This year
117
Last year
124.1
Career high
135
The Mariners might shorten Gilbert's starts here and there to keep the innings increase under control, but he's too important to their playoff chances to shut him down completely.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #26 • Age: 28
Risk level
Medium
This year
93.2
Last year
59.2
Career high
128
The Dodgers have a reputation for managing innings, but all bets are off for Gonsolin after the way they turned Julio Urias loose last year.
CIN Cincinnati • #21 • Age: 23
Risk level
High
This year
90.1
Last year
106.1
Career high
106.1
Durability was an issue for Greene in the minors, and there's no reason to waste his 100-mph fastballs on a last-place finish once he's extended himself to 130 innings or so.
HOU Houston • #53 • Age: 25
Risk level
Medium
This year
83.1
Last year
112
Career high
113.2
Javier probably has enough cushion to ride it out, but if the Astros are running away with their division, they may shift him back to the bullpen anyway, particularly if that's where they intend to use him in the playoffs.
SEA Seattle • #68 • Age: 24
Risk level
High
This year
91
Last year
67.2
Career high
Surpassed
Kirby would be an obvious shutdown candidate as a high-profile rookie already entering uncharted territory, but the Mariners may push him to the limit as they fight to end their playoff drought.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #34 • Age: 26
Risk level
High
This year
83
Last year
72.1
Career high
134.1
Kopech's velocity has already been an issue in his first year starting, and he recently breezed past last year's inning total. The White Sox have enough rotation depth that I suspect they'll choose to play it safe with him even as they fight to stay in the division race.
CIN Cincinnati • #40 • Age: 24
Risk level
High
This year
45
Last year
50.2
Career high
50.2
Lodolo's health history would justify a more cautious approach, but the Reds need to build him up to a point where a more typical workload is within reach next year, which probably means 100 innings or so.
MIN Minnesota • #49 • Age: 26
Risk level
Medium
This year
109
Last year
107.2
Career high
145.1
Injuries are the reason for Lopez's low innings totals and are a further reason for the Marlins to exercise caution, but they may be forced to lean on one of their veteran arms (presuming they don't trade him).
TOR Toronto • #6 • Age: 25
Risk level
Medium
This year
120.2
Last year
129.2
Career high
129.2
The Blue Jays haven't held back with the big-bodied Manoah, who's necessarily entering uncharted territory in what's only his second professional season.
TB Tampa Bay • #18 • Age: 25
Risk level
Medium
This year
116.1
Last year
123.1
Career high
123.1
Manager Kevin Cash has already said the Rays will need to begin managing the innings of their no-question-asked ace, especially since they'll need him to save something for the playoffs.
MIN Minnesota • #41 • Age: 26
Risk level
Low
This year
81
Last year
92.2
Career high
123.2
A month-long absence for COVID-19 may have slowed down Ryan's accumulation enough for the Twins, but they could rethink things if they lose or extend their division lead.
LAA L.A. Angels • #43 • Age: 26
Risk level
Medium
This year
84
Last year
87
Career high
122.1
Sandoval might be OK as long as the Angels stick with a six-man rotation, but seeing as his career high in innings came way back in 2018, they may cap him at 130-140.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #40 • Age: 28
Concern level
Low
This year
86
Last year
18
Career high
193.1
A pitcher's first full season back from Tommy John surgery normally warrants an abundance of caution, but Severino's current absence for a lat strain will probably slow him down enough.
TB Tampa Bay • #59 • Age: 30
Concern level
High
This year
68.1
Last year
44.2
Career high
112.1
Springs' last year as primarily a starter was 2017, which is also the only time he reached 100 innings. Don't be surprised if the Rays shorten his starts down the stretch.
ATL Atlanta • #99 • Age: 24
Concern level
Medium
This year
74.1
Last year
96.1
Career high
96.1
Strider's time in the bullpen gives him a pretty nice cushion, but the Braves may still choose to slow him down if they plan for him to be part of their postseason rotation.