Re: Coddling Coma
posted at 5/13/2011 7:22 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Coddling Coma
There are two big problems with the way managers use bullpens now compared to how they used to use bullpens years back. First the 100 pitch ceiling , which is ludicrous. Pitchers have more arm problems now then they did in the early 70's when pitch counts weren't an issue. Second, middle relievers are almost extinct, because no one wants to do it. The job does not pay as well as being a starter or a closer. Even the set up man has more respect. The term 'long' or 'middle' reliever is almost an insult. It is like being a 2nd class major leaguer. So when a manager "pulls the plug" on a starter in the early innings , he is almost guaranteed to be bringing in a pitcher who is either more inept than the guy he is removing or a guy with no experience in that role, or a guy with no desire to become a "long reliever." These factors make it a better decision to stick with the starter and hope he overcomes a bad start and "settles in." Without good middle relief , the temptation is to go to the "late inning" guys too soon, and when you do this they get burned out as these guys are not conditioned to pitch more than an inning or two , and then they need a day to recover. Thus the value of a Julian Tavares or a Ramiro Mendoza goes unnoticed.
Posted by ZILLAGOD
I agree with parts of your post and disagree with others.
There aren't more arm problems today. That's not even close to being true. As many? Who know -- it is something worth quantifying, but to make a blanket statement that there are more arm problems today is wrong. I think pitch counts at times can be overdone, but all you have to do is look at pitchers of the past and see how quickly many flamed out then look at their innings and it's easy to see why there's so much concern today about pitch counts and innings.
You're right about long relievers. There really aren't any long relievers or middle relievers today, but that has nothing to do with pitchers not wanting to do the job over pay. Unless your tagged as the closer or eighth-inning guy, everyone else is the same.
Blame Tony LaRussa when he was with Oakland. He's the one who started all these one-inning relievers, the one-inning closer, the seventh and eightht inning guy and evolved from there.
The theory is that if you use one guy three innings, he's not available for a couple of days. Using guys for one inning can keep the fresher and used consistently. The problem with the one-inning approach is that if your starters can't go deep enough for a couple of games in a row, it's easy to burn out the bullpen.
Using relievers like they did in the past may be too much on one extreme, but they're also too much on other extreme today. I think teams hurt themselves by not ID'ing at least one reliever as a long reliever. There's something to be said for having an innings eater in the bullpen.