It is almost never a Happy Moment when a Major League Baseball Manager steps onto the field headed to the Mound. But it is much less happier when the Manager has to do it, not knowing whether he is making the right choice or not. I have continually proclaimed that a Good Bullpen can and will make all Major League Baseball teams better and not only because they get people out. The fact is, a Good MLB Pen makes starting pitchers better, and make hitters for the team they pitch for more productive. What did I just say?
MLB Bullpens Feed Success
Just two days ago, I witnessed a game in which the Washington Nationals led the Phillies 4-0 going to the the bottom of the fourth inning. After 5 innings, they trailed 7-4. Why? Because the Nats Manager left the starter in too damn long. Why did he do that? Because he had no clear alternative as his bullpen was and is one of the worst in the Major League’s. So he left Marquis in there too long and Philly had a Feast. The Nats lost that game and they will continue to lose more this year the same way. But how often do we see a team that has good starting pitching but a poor bullpen? How often do we see a team that has a good Bullpen, but poor starting pitching? Almost never, because they work together to make it happen. Regardless of how good a starter is, he is going to run out of gas at some point in the contest. That is when the manager has the decision to jerk him, or leave him in, and that decision is determined by what other choices he has. Teams with Good Mid-Relievers have more options. That means that their Starter’s Stats are going to be better and on the other side, that means their Closers are going to be better also, because they get “Set Up” more often in a good spot and are more rested to make good things happen.
Managers Are Paid to Manage
This is what these guys do, hence their name. But they don’t get to do that as often with the throwers on the staff unless they have the confidence to to so. They also don’t have the opportunity to do more offensively with hit and runs, stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and other offensive ploys unless they are working from strength. In this context strength simply means being in the game, trailing by small margin, tied, or ahead in the contest. Already this year we are seeing teams like the Bluejays, Twins, Athletics, Phillies and Cardinals win a lot of money for those that are betting them, and they are also winning a lot of games for their fans. Is it just a fluke that all of these teams are ranked in the Top 10 Bullpens this year so far? I don’t think so.