Re: A novel concept...
Within the arguments of the article, I think it's far more fair to ask for a 4 out save occasionally than asking to move the checkers all over the board on a nightly basis. The context for every team is different. For our Reds, though, the context has been:
1) Strong closer for 9th only
2) Strikeout/groundballer for 8th
3) 6th or 7th inning matchup du jour
Really, it's hard to argue that if you need to fill out 6 or 7 guys in a bullpen that your bottom 3 or 4 will be world beaters. If they are, great. Last year was a remarkable success, for example. Ondrusek, Arredondo, Simon and Lecure were just perfect. They were matched up well and filled their roles really well.
If you were looking to give credit to the Reds, instead of reinventing the wheel, you could also notice that they acquired the best reliever in baseball from the Cubs for the all important 8th inning and often only used him against LHH. Then they had a tough RHP for the 8th as well.
So, you can't really argue with the Reds results when their bullpen is deep enough. And from experience, we can also recall that the Reds bullpen was putrid before Cordero structured it as the top-down, shut-down closer, allowing for the manager to utilize his other reliever's strengths for matchup and, let me not forget, duration.
Finally, I've seen no mention of the fact that if the lead is lost in the 7th or 8th, it IS still possible to come back, especially on the road. And speaking of the road, do we want Simon closing a game out in Philly or St. Louis?
It's not that high leverage situations aren't apparent or even dangerous with the current configuration, it's just that they are a season long challenge. Now, in the playoffs, would I like Chapman to pitch 7 outs? Was Lincecum a nightmare last year in game 5? YES.