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kufram
06-17-2012, 04:00 PM
There is talk of the bullpen being stretched this week. I'd like to get opinions on when a bullpen is in trouble. Should a set up man be able to throw, say, 20 pitches 2 or 3 nights in a row? Do you even measure it by pitches thrown? I would guess so.

A closer gets used only in closing situations. I can't get that, but should the rest of the pen have defined roles? or should it be the freshest guy goes out?

SCCWS
06-17-2012, 06:58 PM
There is talk of the bullpen being stretched this week. I'd like to get opinions on when a bullpen is in trouble. Should a set up man be able to throw, say, 20 pitches 2 or 3 nights in a row? Do you even measure it by pitches thrown? I would guess so.

A closer gets used only in closing situations. I can't get that, but should the rest of the pen have defined roles? or should it be the freshest guy goes out?


It is not just pitches thrown. Consideration is also given to how often a guy warms up but does not go in.

WLL1855
06-17-2012, 08:46 PM
It is not just pitches thrown. Consideration is also given to how often a guy warms up but does not go in.

This and more.

Who's at the plate?

Who's coming up behind them?

How much 'work' has the guy you'd call from the pen seen lately?

How many runs can we possibly afford to give up in exchange for a given number of outs?

Who else can I turn to in the even the situation worsens?

The calculus for determining relief pitching is not simple in many cases.

Lip Man 1
06-17-2012, 08:55 PM
I have always believed in defined roles because of the mentality of the way the game is played today. The days of a Hoyt Wilhelm or Goose Gossage coming into the game in the 7th inning and finishing it are long gone.

I wish it wasn't that way by the way, if you are a major league pitcher you should be able to get anybody out regardless of what side they bat from but because these guys are all specialists from the time they hit college to the minor leagues it's wrong to ask a guy who hasn't faced say a righty all year, to have to get them out.

You define the roles and you stay with it, very few if any exceptions.

And you never, never use a guy three days in a row, to many pitches (including warming up) in to short a time.

Lip

JB98
06-17-2012, 09:13 PM
This and more.

Who's at the plate?

Who's coming up behind them?

How much 'work' has the guy you'd call from the pen seen lately?

How many runs can we possibly afford to give up in exchange for a given number of outs?

Who else can I turn to in the even the situation worsens?

The calculus for determining relief pitching is not simple in many cases.

Yeah, there are a lot of factors involved, and more than ever, psychology plays a role as well. Certain guys are cool with pitching the ninth inning. Other guys couldn't get outs 25, 26 and 27 if their lives depended on it. In the age of specialization, guys expect to be told "what their role is" and they will use "not knowing their role" as an excuse for failure. There are still some relievers who don't give a crap about any of that stuff, but there are others who are a little more touchy.

Then, you also have some managers (like Ozzie Guillen, for example) who play the percentages 100 percent of the time just to avoid criticism. If there's a left-handed hitter up, then damn, there better be a left-handed pitcher in the game. If there's a right-hander coming, then put the righty in.

That way, if your pitcher fails, then hey, you're immune from criticism. You played the percentages, right? What else can you do?

Oftentimes, the percentage play is the right move. The percentages say what they say for a reason. But at the same time, your best managers are the ones who understand there are certain times where it's prudent to go against percentages. I think every manager should ask himself, "What does the opposing manager want me to do?" Then, do the exact opposite.

Sunday's game was a great case in point. The "percentage play" was to relieve Quintana with Addison Reed. But I'll bet you the Dodgers were jumping for joy when they saw Quintana out of there. They were probably also jumping for joy to send their best left-handed pinch hitter to the plate to lead off the ninth, something they may not have done with a left-hander on the mound. Sometimes, the push-button move is the wrong damn move, and just because "every other manager in baseball" does it a certain way doesn't mean that's the way it should be done in every situation.

IMO, excessive reliance on lefty-righty stuff will burn out your bullpen come August. We've seen that in a couple different seasons with the Sox recently, most notably 2010. It can be tough to manage, though, when you don't have a lot of depth in your bullpen. That's the situation Robin finds himself in this season. He's got three guys (Santiago, Stewart, Ohman) who he simply cannot trust in high-leverage spots. Two of his three lefties suck, and his third lefty (Thornton) has been bad lately, possibly because of overuse. So then what do you do?

It's an interesting topic. There are a lot of different ways to look at this.

Lip Man 1
06-17-2012, 09:18 PM
JB:

Well thought out post. I can think of more than a handful of times Ozzie would burn two, three, four pitchers in an inning because of the lefty / righty matchup, than got nailed in the end when he was short.

Like I said if you're a big league pitcher you should get guys out, period but that's not the way they play the game today. (unfortunately)

Lip

JB98
06-17-2012, 09:34 PM
JB:

Well thought out post. I can think of more than a handful of times Ozzie would burn two, three, four pitchers in an inning because of the lefty / righty matchup, than got nailed in the end when he was short.

Like I said if you're a big league pitcher you should get guys out, period but that's not the way they play the game today. (unfortunately)

Lip

Ozzie was a much better manager when he first came to the Sox because he didn't give a damn about "the book." Perhaps he didn't know any better. But once he had been around for awhile, he started living and dying by the book to his own detriment.

How many times did we see Ozzie Guillen use four relief pitchers to get six damn outs with a three-run lead during a game in May or June? Too many, and it bit him in the ass in August and September. There is a reason many of Guillen's teams played worse in the second half than the first half.

In 2005, Ozzie Guillen let his starters serve as their own closers in the ALCS. It was brilliant, brilliant managing. Who else would have done that? Nobody. It defied the percentages. It was the exact opposite of what the opposing manager wanted him to do. It went against everything that people believe about baseball in the age of specialization. It also worked like a charm.

Would the 2009 version of Ozzie Guillen or the 2011 Ozzie have had the stones to do something like that? Not a chance in hell.

russ99
06-17-2012, 09:47 PM
Ozzie was a believer in bullpen roles, Robin not so much, and guys prefer to have a set job than be called on a moments notice. Yes, he did juggle for matchups, but he wasn't putting middle relievers in closing or setup situations.

The other thing Ozzie did that helped the pen is he had a very late hook, especially for the veteran starters. Can't tell what Robin does in regards to that, seems all over the place, especially after today.

Also, his strategies didn't really change over time, the personnel did. Maybe he should have adapted more for the guys he had...

JB98
06-17-2012, 10:10 PM
Ozzie was a believer in bullpen roles, Robin not so much, and guys prefer to have a set job than be called on a moments notice. Yes, he did juggle for matchups, but he wasn't putting middle relievers in closing or setup situations.

The other thing Ozzie did that helped the pen is he had a very late hook, especially for the veteran starters. Can't tell what Robin does in regards to that, seems all over the place, especially after today.

Also, his strategies didn't really change over time, the personnel did. Maybe he should have adapted more for the guys he had...

On the contrary, I think his strategies did change after the debacle that was the 2007 season. KW was to blame for giving him a **** relief corps that year, but he took a good chunk of the heat because every decision he made with the pitching staff turned to ruin. Wasn't really his fault he just had bad pitchers but I think the criticism stung him.

He micromanaged the bullpen much more from 2008-11. Generally speaking he didn't change his philosophy with the starters. He let them go as far as possible, especially Buehrle, and rightfully so. But once the bullpen did come into the game, there was a much stricter adherence to matchups. In certain situations, that is fine. But Ozzie was playing it that way 100 percent of the time, and it jumped up and bit him later in the season.

Robin, right now, needs to get more out of his starters. It's a little tough because he's got two guys pitching like absolute garbage. But at the same time, he had the opportunity to try to get a complete game out of a starter today. He took a pass. Wrong move, IMO.

Jones, Crain and Thornton all appeared in four out of six games on this trip. That's an excessive workload for one week. It was more out of necessity because of crap starting pitching than excessive reliance on matchups, but the effect might be the same come August if the Sox don't start getting better production from their rotation.

Frater Perdurabo
06-17-2012, 10:22 PM
I think Robin should tell Floyd he's pitching nine innings in his next start, no matter how many runs he surrenders. And he should reinforce that message by making all the relievers sit in the dugout, not the pen. If that means Floyd has to throw 300 pitches, or throw lefty, or give up 100 runs, so be it.

fram40
06-17-2012, 10:41 PM
I think Robin should tell Floyd he's pitching nine innings in his next start, no matter how many runs he surrenders. And he should reinforce that message by making all the relievers sit in the dugout, not the pen. If that means Floyd has to throw 300 pitches, or throw lefty, or give up 100 runs, so be it.

You think the Cubs could score 100 runs?

I'd love to see this.

Frater Perdurabo
06-17-2012, 10:47 PM
You think the Cubs could score 100 runs?

I'd love to see this.

Facing the anemic Cubs is the perfect opportunity to do this.

"The bullpen has bailed out your *** enough over the past month; go suck it up for nine, pal."

WLL1855
06-17-2012, 11:10 PM
...Robin, right now, needs to get more out of his starters. It's a little tough because he's got two guys pitching like absolute garbage. But at the same time, he had the opportunity to try to get a complete game out of a starter today. He took a pass. Wrong move, IMO...

Agree with you 100% here but I'm not ready to call for Robin's head yet (It was Quintana's longest start of the year even if his pitch count was pretty low). If I'm Robin today I look Quintana in the eye after he comes to the dugout and ask him what he's got left in the tank. If I like what I see I tell him his leash is exactly one runner long and after that Reed is in the game.

JB98
06-17-2012, 11:23 PM
Agree with you 100% here but I'm not ready to call for Robin's head yet (It was Quintana's longest start of the year even if his pitch count was pretty low). If I'm Robin today I look Quintana in the eye after he comes to the dugout and ask him what he's got left in the tank. If I like what I see I tell him his leash is exactly one runner long and after that Reed is in the game.

No, I'm not calling for heads either. Generally speaking, I think Robin and his staff have done a respectable job this year. They've got a team that I expected to be below .500 in first place on June 17. I just think taking Quintana out today was a mistake.

Lip Man 1
06-18-2012, 12:07 AM
According to Gonzo's wrap story at the Tribune, Q told him he felt fine after the 8th inning for what that may be worth.

I agree with Noneck, I'm in a 1-0 game I at least give the guy who put me in that situation the chance to win or lose the game by himself...at the very least he's in there until he lets a guy get on base.

Lip

Nellie_Fox
06-18-2012, 01:09 AM
I went into a rant. Quintana was cruising. I absolutely abhor this idea that, if it's the ninth inning and a save situation, you must bring in your closer. Managers are all so afraid of deviating from "the book."

MetroPD
06-18-2012, 03:38 AM
Reed is terrible. Jones should be in his spot.

kufram
06-18-2012, 08:42 AM
It is easy to say what Robin SHOULD have done yesterday in the 9th, but he's on a learning curve, probably more than Hudson. I wanted Quintana to stay in but for my own reason.... that is, I would take a starter out only when I felt I HAD to. I don't care if it's the 9th, 10th, or later. Why remove a guy that, pitch-wise, was probably only in the 6th inning. Also, he showed no signs of being got to. You pull a starter early if his pitch count is high so shouldn't you leave someone in that is cruising on a low count.... especially with the guys we have that don't seem comfortable with the game on the line.

Still, I don't blame RV... he has to do what he thinks is right. The Dodgers have been in 30 1 run games so they may well have pulled it out no matter what he did.

BUT... my own feeling is that the bullpen has become over-thunk. Not just ours. Too much intellectualising, number crunching, and philosophy. Go out and get the batter out. I know that is oversimplifying.

October26
06-18-2012, 11:14 AM
It is easy to say what Robin SHOULD have done yesterday in the 9th, but he's on a learning curve, probably more than Hudson. I wanted Quintana to stay in but for my own reason.... that is, I would take a starter out only when I felt I HAD to. I don't care if it's the 9th, 10th, or later. Why remove a guy that, pitch-wise, was probably only in the 6th inning. Also, he showed no signs of being got to. You pull a starter early if his pitch count is high so shouldn't you leave someone in that is cruising on a low count.... especially with the guys we have that don't seem comfortable with the game on the line.

Still, I don't blame RV... he has to do what he thinks is right. The Dodgers have been in 30 1 run games so they may well have pulled it out no matter what he did.

BUT... my own feeling is that the bullpen has become over-thunk. Not just ours. Too much intellectualising, number crunching, and philosophy. Go out and get the batter out. I know that is oversimplifying.


I worked a lot of overtime last week and didn’t have much time to post on WSI. I have been trying to keep up with the latest White Sox news and it seems like the bullpen use/misuse is a hot topic these days. This is an interesting thread and I agree with everything you posted above, especially the part in bold. At the end of the day, baseball is a game of failure and as you've mentioned before, it is a long season. Still, I really wanted to see the Sox win yesterday for all of the WSI/Sox fan Dad’s (including my own) but it was not to be. The Dodgers have a good team this year.

I am hoping for a better week this week (for me, the Sox bullpen, and the Sox won-loss record). Go Sox!

WhiteSox5187
06-18-2012, 03:44 PM
Ozzie was a much better manager when he first came to the Sox because he didn't give a damn about "the book." Perhaps he didn't know any better. But once he had been around for awhile, he started living and dying by the book to his own detriment.

How many times did we see Ozzie Guillen use four relief pitchers to get six damn outs with a three-run lead during a game in May or June? Too many, and it bit him in the ass in August and September. There is a reason many of Guillen's teams played worse in the second half than the first half.

In 2005, Ozzie Guillen let his starters serve as their own closers in the ALCS. It was brilliant, brilliant managing. Who else would have done that? Nobody. It defied the percentages. It was the exact opposite of what the opposing manager wanted him to do. It went against everything that people believe about baseball in the age of specialization. It also worked like a charm.

Would the 2009 version of Ozzie Guillen or the 2011 Ozzie have had the stones to do something like that? Not a chance in hell.

Ozzie liked his starters having a chance for a win, I will give him that and I think he typically handled his starters fairly well. Your point about 2007 being a year that changed his philosophy when it came to how he handled the bullpen is interesting though. I certainly noticed in 2011 how he loved using match ups and making a lot of pitching changes but I thought in 2010 he didn't play the match ups so much. In the 7th it was Thornton, the 8th Putz and the 9th was Jenks. Same thing in 2008. Once Jenks started struggling though in 2009 it was harder to keep the bullpen locked down into roles.