Originally Posted by knuckler
I love what Burton and Bray have brought to the pen.
What this bullpen is missing is a long-relief guy with a rubber arm. He doesn't have to put up the spectacular numbers like Burton, just a consistent 4+ ERA, a run every other inning. But mop up 3 innings at a time so that Bray and Burton aren't used when the team is down by 5, and so that Dusty doesn't feel he has to squeeze just one more 20-pitch inning out of the starters to keep the bullpen fresh. I was hoping Fogg or Affeldt would fill that role, but whether it's Dusty not wanting to put them in it or them not seizing it, it hasn't happened. Mercker, Weathers and Lincoln and Herrera don't seem to have the endurance to do it.
I believe the term you're looking for is "Scott Sullivan 2.0"
What's promising to me about 3 really solid guys is that the bullpen is fundamentally different than starting. You have more information. By the time the bullpen is needed, the game's outcome is much better defined. You need a good start every time out to have a good chance of winning. But there are days, both on the winning and losing sides, where you can safely expose the weaker members of your pitching staff without altering the likely outcome.
Unlike with your starters, where each guy has equal impact on the games in which they pitch, you don't need to be solid 6 deep to have an effective bullpen. Taken to the extreme, you can see this in a bullpen like Arizona's last year, or the Yankee and Sox pens of recent vintage. A "closer", 2 high strikeout setup/firemen, and a reliable innings guy (like Weathers of recent years) is really all you need to be well positioned to win all the games within reach.
Sure, your swing man (Fogg) and 2nd middle/long reliever (Affeldt) are expected to give up a fair amount of runs and might inflate your team ERA. But they shouldn't have very much of an impact on winning and losing ball games if used properly.