View Full Version : Cincinnati bullpen - first half blues.

07-12-2007, 02:45 PM
OK. We all know it has been pretty bad. But just how bad has it been? The bullpen - like all pitching - has one main goal. That is to keep runs from scoring. However, the bullpen's goal can be split into two parts. Keeping the runner's who are their responsibility from scoring; as well as keeping runners already on base from crossing the plate. These can be fairly well represented by ERA and IS%. (all apologies to the DIPsers and FIPsers out there) ERA is pretty straightforward. IS% is the percentage of runners on base that a reliever inherits which score. The chart below is how well each of the 16 NL bullpens did at these two tasks.

SDP -50.0 -6.4 -56.4 21.2% 2.38
LAD -18.9 -0.8 -19.7 30.9% 3.39
NYM -9.3 -4.7 -14.0 27.0% 3.67
MIL -14.1 1.7 -12.4 33.9% 3.50
CHC -0.9 -10.4 -11.3 20.0% 3.96
ATL -9.6 0.4 -9.2 32.3% 3.69
ARI -7.7 -0.4 -8.1 31.3% 3.72
SFG -9.9 4.0 -5.9 36.8% 3.61
STL -8.4 6.8 -1.6 40.2% 3.72
FLA 9.4 -4.4 5.0 27.3% 4.26
WSN -1.4 7.1 5.7 38.7% 3.95
COL 14.0 1.5 15.5 34.0% 4.47
PIT 23.5 -1.8 21.7 29.9% 4.77
CIN 24.1 6.2 30.3 36.9% 4.85
PHI 25.0 5.5 30.5 37.9% 4.85
HOU 36.1 -4.4 31.7 26.7% 5.22

First off it should be noted that the NL bullpen ERA for the first half of 2007 is 3.99. The IS% is 31.9%. The first two columns show the effect for each team as if they had a bullpen which was league-average in both ERA and IS%.

RA-ERA is the number of runs adjusted if a team's bullpen had a 3.99 ERA. Negative numbers are good. It means that particular team's bullpen actually saved runs versus a league-average bullpen.

RA-IS is basically the same only with regards to inherited runners scoring. Once again negative numbers are good, positive are bad.

TOT-RA is simply the first two columns combined.

It should be pointed out that a bullpen's ERA correlates to the IS% somewhat, but maybe not as well as one might think. For example, Houston's bullpen had the worst ERA and yet had one of the better IS% rates. The same is true for Pittsburgh and Florida. Conversely the St. Louis bullpen had a good ERA and yet were dead last at allowing inherited runners to score. Milwaukee and Washington bullpens also fared worse in IS% than their respective ERAs might have suggested.

As far as the Cincinnati bullpen is concerned the news is pretty much all bad. No surprise there. Only two teams had poorer ERAs, while just three teams allowed inherited runners to score at a higher rate. Overall it ranks 14th out of 16 teams. The Reds' bullpen cost the team around 30 runs more than if they had an average bullpen.

San Diego's bullpen has been phenomenal. Obviously a major factor in the team's success so far in 2007. It allows almost 1.6 runs per nine innings less than the average NL bullpen. They also excelled at keeping runners on base from scoring once they came on to pitch.

The gap between the best and worst bullpens is nearly 90 runs (+56 for SD and nearly -32 for Houston). And this is in just half a season. :eek:

In summation the Reds' bullpen had a dismal first half. A second half turn-around is probably too late to get them back into any sort of playoff contention, but it would be nice to see.

07-12-2007, 02:59 PM
Two things that jump out at me from that. First, 30 runs (above league average) in 88 games is a bunch to make up but that is way less than .5 per game. Second, the Phillies bull pen is about the same as the Reds and they are contending just fine. I looked up some stats on those two teams when they were playing eachother a couple of weeks ago and they had roughly the same starter ERA and scored the same amount of runs in innings 1-6. The Reds' bats go to sleep after the 6th which compounds the bull pen problems. A little more "clutch" hitting could go a long way to relieving the pen (pun intended) as we saw in the Arizona series.