View Full Version : Pet Peeve: Intra-Inning Reliever Changes

09-01-2007, 07:25 AM
Please bear with me as I rant.

While stuff like batting orders and Castro’s for Hamilton’s were a part of our previous manager’s ineffectiveness, for me the worst part was bullpen management. Within that, the tendency to change relievers within an inning was particularly disturbing.

Changing relievers in the middle of an inning has the potential to turn bad innings VERY bad, as it usually takes a few pitches for a new guy to get his bearings out there. With runners on base and in critical situations…you can’t afford the luxury of one getting away.

Unfortunately, MacKanin has that same tendency, which IMO will only produce similar results.

IMO, there are only TWO good reasons to change a reliever in the middle of an inning (not saying pull starter…but change one reliever for another).

1) Reliever 1 obviously doesn’t have it.
2) Reliever 2 provides an IMPORTANT matchup advantage vs. following batters.

Preferably BOTH conditions should be matched.

Which leads me to last night’s 6th inning. Coutlangous straightened out his command after walking his first guy in the 5th. He starts the 6th by striking out Aaron Miles, a guy who is very hard to K. So condition 1 is not met. Cout…at 19 pitches so far… is doing fine.

Enter So Tagouchi…lifetime .734 vs LH, .725 vs. RH. Little power…. No big matchup advantage. So Condition 2 is not met either.

BUT MAC brings in Majewski….My guess is he just wanted to get Kepp into the game on the double switch…but its ONLY the 6th inning.

Majewski (who gets no love around here) battles Tagouchi and finally So slices one into the RF corner for a double…bummer.

OK. Now Brendan Ryan (who does hit LH better, but slugged all of .394 in his minor league career)…grounds one up the middle hard. Phillips gets it, but can’t make a play. Bummer again.

Majic then proceeds to hit Eckstein loading the bases. Yeah..that was bad.

Now, MAC brings in Everyday Eddie to face Rick Ankiel. Has condition 1 been met? Well…Majic has not been effective…but they haven’t been really knocking down the fences either.

And condition 2. Well NO. Take out groundball pitcher (Majic) when a groudball is needed. Bring in lefty flyball pitcher and guess what? Ankiel hits lefties just as well as righties (or better) and did so in the minor leagues also.

We know what happened.

Two unwarranted switches in one inning turn the situation from normal to bad to catastrophic.

Hey, maybe the REDS lose anyway. The probably do. But its this kind of thing that turned the REDS bully from BAD to AWFUL. This is THE recipe for the 8th inning meltdowns we know and love.

On the other hand, why has David Weathers been so effective this year? Aside from pitching well…in the closer role, he has been allowed to work out his own jams.

There is no such thing as 3 up, 3 down middle relief. These guys are going to give up hits and runs. What you want to do is minimize the damage by putting guys in situations to succeed, show them some trust and yeah…pray for the best.

09-01-2007, 09:32 AM
It seems to me a bit of overmanagaing going on this week. Humans in any field tend to muck things up when they get to thinking too much. When you have a weak bullpen, you certainly don't try to get through a middle inning with three of them. Since its football season, it is the equivalent of blitzing the LBers trying to protect a 3 point lead in the 3rd Quarter when you have DBs who cannot handle man to man coverage. Maybe Mackanin was trying to impress LaRussa with the changes.

09-01-2007, 06:54 PM
Intra-inning rellief pitching changes would likely affect this team more positively if it had good relief pitchers.

09-01-2007, 07:14 PM
Pete M's whole bullpen strategy is to figure how how not to use someone (Magic Man, Stanton, and Saarloos). These 3 guys should be avoided as much as possible and since Wayne K. doesn't have the good since to bring up some relievers who could help, the course of action required is to avoid these 3 as much as possible. To worry about match-ups with small sample sizes instead of avoiding the chaos these 3 bring is silly.

It's not a great situation, but that's what managers need to do.

Also, isn't it clear that the pitchers who have the best chance of succeeding in this park are pitchers with high K per 9 inniing stats. If you can't miss bats you can't pitch at GABP. So bring up Salmom, Guevera, etc...they may not always perfor, but they give you a chance.