Tuesday, June 02, 2015
If relievers are truly getting better, maybe a team won’t need so many of them. How about a couple less relievers and a few more quality pinch-hitting options?
Now that we know that teams have better bullpens at their disposal than they used to, what’s the counter-move? One that’s been suggested is that hitters should stop being so patient and just attack what the starter gives them. In fact, there’s evidence that one reason for the recent rise in strikeouts is that hitters are being too patient. If the batter comes up saying, “I won’t swing until you throw me a strike,” the pitcher is likely to say, “OK, here” and we end up in an 0-1 count. If bullpens really are getting better, maybe it’s worth it to go after the No. 4 starter and make sure that it’s already 7-2 by the fifth inning so that the All-Star bullpen doesn’t matter.
Friday, April 03, 2015
Being in the dugout during the game is awkward. It kind of feels like the baseball equivalent of watching American Pie with your parents. You don’t want to be there. They really don’t want you there.
A dugout doesn’t feel like home to a reliever. And having to sit in one raises so many questions: Are there certain places I can’t sit? When can I use the bathroom? Should I high-five someone after he scores? There’s a reason the bullpen was invented in the first place!
Saturday, February 07, 2015
Ultimately, though, every manager—every single one—falls into the same basic patterns with the late innings. They’ll go with committees only to the point that one member of that committee catches fire, and then they’ll ride that guy in the ninth for as long as his arm and effectiveness will allow.
I asked Showalter why that is.
“There are four parts of a season,” Showalter said. “Spring Training, when you manage pitchers completely different; the regular season, when you manage starters and relievers differently; this God-awful thing called September baseball, with all the callups; and then this thing called the postseason that’s a whole different animal.”
Showalter’s point is that having your best reliever at the ready whenever a high-leverage situation begins to present itself is going to wear that reliever out in a hurry—especially in an environment in which offense is down and close games are the norm, which is what is taking place today.
Teams, remember, aren’t just protecting leads.
“We’re protecting investments,” Showalter said. “Nowadays, we have a lot more information about what creates injuries and problems with pitchers. The thing that kills guys [is getting] up and down and up and down [in the bullpen].”
Posted: February 07, 2015 at 10:52 AM | 13 comment(s)
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