Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Not the Bullpen Blowing It, It's Management of the Bullpen

Let’s see if we can notice a trend.

In today’s loss to Colorado, Paco Rodriguez retires the three hitters he faced in the game.  He’s looking great and has recorded the first out in the bottom of the 7th inning.  But two right handed batters in the heart of the Rockies order were coming up.  Troy Tulowitski and Michael Cuddyer.

Paco has a history of being able to get righties out, but Trey Hillman, who was filling in for ejected Dodger manager Don Mattingly, elects to bring in the right handed Ronald Belisario to face the two hitters.  Result - Tulowitski singles and Cuddyer homers.  Tie game.
Michael Cuddyer homers of Belisario in the 7th to tie the game up.  (photo by Barry Gutierrez/AP)

In the tenth inning, J.P. Howell has just retired his seventh hitter in a row.  Four by strikeout.  They aren’t touching him.  He’s gone 2 1/3 innings and the Rockies have four consecutive right handed hitters coming up in Arenado, Torrealba, Rosario and Fowler.  Hillman yanks Howell for Guerrier because for some reason it is believed that a reliever that throws over 30 pitches in two plus innings is overworked.

Guerrier surrenders three consecutive hits and the Dodgers lose.

Managers in this modern game of baseball can drive you nuts.  Too much specialization in the bullpen will kill you.  Too many arms used to set up the ideal lefty/righty match ups are burned up.  What has been created over the years are relief pitchers so specialized that they can’t be trusted to get multiple outs.  Also it has created gun shy managers that micro- manage and simply don’t believe that relievers can go much more than one inning.

The whole thing is maddening and it’ll require a true managing pioneer that has his team’s front office blessing to stop this trend.  The game needs a reliever of the ilk of Rollie Fingers, Clem Labine, Mike Marshall or Bruce Sutter.  A guy that can go 3 or 4 innings and finish off a game and then go out there the next night and do it again.

The rubber armed reliever is a thing of the past, and it’s killing me as a fan to watch this micro-managing that leads to defeat after defeat.  This was a frustrating loss that could have been avoided had some correct managerial decisions been made with regard to  bullpen usage.

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