I don't get how anyone can say it's perfectly ethical for the second place team to add and drop pitchers every single day to try to catch the first place guy, and yet if the first place guy attempts to put the kibosh on that strategy it's bush league?
Because the guy picking up and dropping starters to make up for negative innings is PLAYING THEM. The other guy is just trying to PREVENT him from using his innings.
I had to think about this issue myself. I'm in 1st in my points league and I'm right about even in terms of IP (1500 IP limit). I'm at -3 right now, so I'll use all of them by the end of the season.
The 2nd place player has been around -400 for a while, so he's throwing 6 or 7 SPs out there every day - just grabbing warm bodies and hoping for the best. And it's gonna work - he's gonna beat me because of the scoring system. We get 10 pts/win but only LOSE 3 points/loss, so the math favors him even if his guys only win 40% of the time.
I didn't have a huge lead when he started doing this - 150 points, maybe - and it's now down to about 35 points. I have one day I can throw out scads of starters: Sunday, when the IP limits go bye-bye as long as you still have 0.1 inning left. I plan to grab as many starters as I can for that day and hope for the best.
But I'm already set on the idea I'll end up in 2nd place. While I don't like that idea, I'd rather be in 2nd honestly than stay in 1st because I use a cheap strategy like this. I thought about doing it but realized it left a bad taste in my mouth. It's a tacky strategy - and against the rules, too...