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."