Tagged: bullpen

Good Article on Angels Bullpen from Scott Miller

Scott Miller breaks down how replacing K-Rod (traded to Mets) with Brian Fuentes (24 saves – leads the Majors) did not cause the Angels’ bullpen to hold 3rd-to-last place (behind Cleveland and Washington) as of Wednesday 7-8-09.

Mainly, it’s injuries and the unfamiliarity of roles that young pitchers have faced when filling-in for the injured.

-Scot Shields was a key set-up man until knee surgery (left) ended his season in June.
-Jose Arrondondo has elbow inflammation, and has been sent to AAA Salt Lake to work through his turnabout from last year’s impressive debut.
-Darren Oliver and young Kevin Jepsen have been on the DL since April.

“The result was that some relievers pitched out of their roles and some younger arms were pushed, by necessity, into situations they shouldn’t have been in in the first place,” Miller explains. Furthermore, Angels’ starters have struggled, taxing the already-depleted pen. He quotes pitching coach Mike Butcher saying that lack of leadership is not a factor with Fuentes, whose bullpen has had so many challenges to face. He does acknowledge the tremendous confidence that K-Rod’s presence had contributed to the other bullpen pitchers, however, and starter John Lackey referred to an early “‘adjustment period.'”

The up-side:
-Bullpen performance has improved since June 12: 6-1, 10 saves, 2.82 ERA.
-Justin Speier is keeping righties to a 1.64 batting average.
-Jepsen (RHP) has learned a cutter and has shown improvement.
-Jason Bulger (RHP) is young but coming along.
-Darren Oliver is now ok.

Halos bullpen faces critical test down stretch – by Scott Miller – CBSSports.com Baseball
http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/11934832

Is It a Meme Yet?

If Derek Jeter says so, it must be true!

After Alfredo Aceves picked-up Andy Pettite by pitching 3 scoreless innings in Cleveland last night, Derek Jeter told Suzyn Waldman that Aceves reminds him of our house-favorite righty middle reliever, Ramiro Mendoza. That was on the WCBS-AM postgame show.

Then on today’s pregame “Manager’s Show,” John Sterling mentioned Jeter’s comment to Joe Girardi, qualifying the point by noting that it’s the flexibility more than the pitching itself that inspires the comparison. Mendoza was known for excelling in both short and long relief at any point in the game. Girardi concurred.

3 days ago in Texas, columnist Mark Feinsand said in the “Daily News 5th” segment of the WCBS broadcast that Aceves reminded him of Mendoza. Aceves was relieving Joba Chamberlain, who had started the game weakly. As far as I know, Feinsand was the first to draw this comparison.

I once heard Joe Torre say that Mendoza pitched with ice in his veins. That must have been during his first stint with the Yanks. The pressure surrounding some of his playoff appearances was extraordinary. I remember wishing he had been named MVP during one of those playoff series.

Some Favorites Make Good!

SHAWN CHACON Makes Houston’s Rotation!

ZACK GREINKE Is Back, Shuts Down White Sox A-Team!

  • “The Royals…built leads of 5-1 and 6-2 behind Zack Greinke, who limited the White Sox to two runs and four hits in six innings. Greinke struck out six and walked one…

    ARMS RACE

    Greinke got stronger in each of his five spring starts. In all, he gave up 12 runs and 18 hits in 20 innings but just three runs and seven hits in his last 11 innings.

    “‘I was a little worried at the start of spring training,’ he said. ‘I started off way worse than I ever imagined. The first game was horrible. I had no idea where anything was going or what it was going to do. I just felt lost out there.'”

    “‘The last two outings, I’ve been really happy with how they’ve been.'” “Royals’ Day in Camp” by Bob Dutton 3-23-2008  http://www.kansascity.com/baseball/story/543682.html

SHAWN ESTES Wins in Relief!

  • + 2 SO’s and 3 groundball outs!  one walk.
  • Was in Minors last year from 2006 Tommy John surgery
  • “‘I’m getting more comfortable on the mound,’ Estes said. ‘I felt like I was going in the right direction today. My breaking ball was coming around. It’s hard to gauge after two innings, but I felt like I was throwing the ball a little bit better today.

“‘That was the hope all spring that I gradually got better. I didn’t feel like I would struggle this bad with my command, but I’m improving, making progress.'”

  • “Padres manager Buddy Black liked what he saw of Estes against the Royals.

    “‘Shawn threw well,’ Black said. ‘I liked Shawn’s sink on the fastball. He had some good running action and got some grounders. He ran it in on some lefties and away from righties. He looked good.’

    “Black noted Estes hasn’t missed his turn in a game or throwing bullpen sessions. ‘So that’s a great sign for Shawn that he’s coming around physically,’ Black said.”

  • “‘It’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things, finding my release point more consistently, being more consistent with my mechanics, being more fluid,’ Estes said. ‘Now that I’m full strength, it’s like the first time I’ve picked up a baseball. When I get on the mound, I feel great at 80 to 85 percent, but when I get that extra 10 to 15 percent effort, things have been falling out of whack a little bit.

    “I’t’s a matter of being able to throw and compete at full-strength again, mentally knowing that everything is fine, now throwing strikes. It’s just been different. It’s been difficult.'”

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080322&content_id=2452369&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=sd

He Said It

…which means he’s wise and I don’t have to repeat myself to you.

"Someone call David Wells’ agent… we need a fifth starter ready to go in three weeks."  http://metsreport.com/st-louis-cardinals-14-new-york-mets-4/

Of course, he’s (at metsreport.com) talking about the Mets, having decided El Duque should retire after today, with 3 weeks left in the spring season. (As usual, I find Met fans too hasty with the eject button.)

Wish the YANKEES would bend an ear.  Do I necessarily think we need a 5th starter, exactly?  No.  Do I necessarily think Wells has starter stuff all season?  No.  Could he warm up the season as long relief, lending some stability to the bullpen in case the young starters break down occasionally?  WOULD he?  Could he deal with a contract reflecting non-starter status?  Or, maybe the question is whether the Yankees — or any team — could deal a contract that compensates a respected starter for stepping into an irregular schedule, with the understanding that — at the end of the season — he would have a place in the rotation unless his pitching is under an agreed-upon performance indicator.  (A 6th starter?!  Why not!  We can afford it, especially with 3 young ‘uns.  More than likely, however unfortunate, is the possibility that one of the 5 starters will be injured by then, or will at least need to be spelled.)

Wouldn’t it be nice to sigh at the start of postseason, which for him is like midnight to a nightowl, "Ahhh, all’s Wells."

UM, Daddy George? We’ve Got Like 7 Days To Slip BOOMER in QUIETLY

It even goes beyond retiring as a Yankee.  Did you know that Ron Guidry was his idol growing up!  Uh, huh!  Wait ’til you hear this — in his first MLB start, his opposing pitcher WAS Guidry.  Take a look at the symmetry — closing out his career with Guidry as pitching coach?! 

And, wasn’t David (David Wells, for those of you whose needs I have rudely ignored) undefeated as a Dodger until this week, when he took care to take LA out of contention himself, in plenty of time to sneak onto our roster?

You know he’ll pitch wherever he’s needed — as a starter, out of the bullpen, whatever.  He and Clem could combine for a game.  Now that’s  symmetry.   

Let’s make nice.  OK?  Please?  So little is going well, even in my baseball social life.  This bone would make so many dogs happy.

Mr. Cashman, Tell Me You Have a Plan

Let me get this straight: 

  • The Yankees just traded reliever Scott Proctor for part-time Dodger infielder Wilson Betemit
  • Meanwhile, the Red Sox just obtained Eric Gagne (2.16, 17 of 18 saves) from the Rangers, despite having a killer closer in John Papelbon (2.15, 23 of 25 saves). 

Am I missing something?

  • CONSENSUS  There was one, right?  Yankees need bullpen pitching BADLY.  NOT batters.
  • A BAT FOR THE BENCH?  Let’s look at our oft-maligned bench.
    • Anchored by the mending Johnny Damon (.247), replaced in center by Melky Cabrera, who has improved  to .291 from April’s .200, hitting .373 in July as an every day player
    • Enriched, we hope, by the upcoming return of refurbished slugger Jason Giambi
    • Ignited by Make-It-Happen Miguel Cairo ("the best .239 player in baseball," John Sterling reminds us.), a defensive star and utility player who has hit .255 overall but much higher during periods of everyday play covering first base while the injured Giambi’s replacement Doug Mankiewitcz was on the DL, and until farmhand Andy Phillips was appointed permanent substitute.  If that sounds like teaching in NYC, where teachers who have more than paid their dues after a decade or two in the system are being forced into substitution while youngsters take over the classrooms, you’re right.
    • No offense to Betemit (.231), but, … well, do we need him more than we need Proctor?  And isn’t the point that we needed to ADD to our bullpen?
  • BULLPEN –  Yankees just traded their righty reliever Scott Proctor (3.81 ERA) Why?
    • True, he hit a wall in June when he averaged 5.17 runs.   But his July ERA is 2.84!
    • He has pitched in 52 games.  Last year he entered 89 and ended the season at 3.52.
    • Consensus is that manager Joe Torre overused him last year.  Umm.  Would you say he was ON PACE to burnout again this year?  Remember the uniform-burning ritual?
    • Why are so many Torre Dynasty relievers in the running for most innings pitched?
    • Does Torre have a pattern of overusing a reliever as his trusted go-to guy?  Hmm.
      • Lefty Ron Villone was so wiped out last year that his arm was dead by  postseason.  To recognize his contributions, the Yanks started him in the minors this season.  Today his ERA is 3.12 after 23 games.  He ended last year with a 5.04 ERA after 80 games.  Looks like Torre might have learned something here. 
      • Is Mike Myers the new trusted lefty?  Uh-oh.  2.61 after 50 innings.  Already!
      • Wherever and however he pitches, the one comment you can count on hearing about Mike Stanton is that he’s on the list of the hardest-working lefty relievers in baseball.  He pitched in over 70 games for over half of 6 years with the Yankees (over 60 for the other 3).  As a Met, he reached his pinnacle of 83 games in 2004, and still managed to keep his ERA at 3.16.   Did Torre start him on this path?  At this point, I get the feeling that he he keeps going in order to see how many innings his career can survive.
      • Remember righty Paul Quantrill in 2004?  Get ready:  86 games, 95.1 innings.  Remember him burning out his arm? 
      • You get the idea.  And don’t forget the great relievers they let go.  Remember the Stanton – Mendoza combo?  I’m still smarting from that one.

So, Mr. Cashman-  Would you mind ADDING to our bullpen rather than taking away from it?  Between you and Mr. Torre, we’re losing our relievers faster than we can win our games.

The Overdue Return of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Awards

David Wells Loses His Win Again 6IP, 1ER.             June 26, 2007
San Diego beat the Giants 2-1, but a blown save by, of all people, the very reliever whose retention he had  championed offseason (Scott Linebrink) took away his W.  A tightly-pitched game overall, though Wells gave up an unusually high number of walks (3), for him.   Maybe it is more accurate to describe it as a tightly-managed pitching game, at least by the Padres, who used 6 pitchers to keep the Giants from scoring more than 1 run in 10 innings The 6th was Trevor Hoffman, who earned his 20th save.  Only Zito — who went 8 innings — and Meredith pitched for the Giants, and they kept the Pads to 2 runs in 10.  Not bad, eh?

Ever wonder what it’s like being Doug Balsley, the pitching coach  for Padres’ manager Bud Black?  As pitching coach for the Angels in his previous job, he looked intense and hands-on, if you know what I mean. 

**SPECIAL NOTE**  I have a bad feeling that Andy Pettitte is going to win the YEAH, YEAH, YEAH Award of the year.  Today fit the bill, and I haven’t the heart to explain.  If you can stand it, listen to the game, bad umpire calls and all.  Calls that favored the Yankees, mind you.