"Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013
It would be nice to have someone like Chapman in the top of the seventh tonight....
Hey Sparky! Indian Hill English teachers taught me everything I know!
...and LeCure faces the 1st-4th batters in the 8th. Great timing of this article.
If that's not the being on the line, I don't know what is.
Lecure got squeezed a bit and has been quite good this season, but don't you want to have your best reliever ready to go in a 1 run game facing the top of the lineup?
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.
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.
But most of the time, it is going to be very difficult to use your best reliever as the answer for "any time there is a rally." The funny thing is, the "fireman" approach only worked in an era where that guy was able to work multiple innings. And those guys were rare, elite relievers like Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers, Mike Marshall, Lee Smith, Sparky Lyle. But then starters went deeper, so your bullpens didn't require the depth that they do now, and so on and so on and so on.
To be honest, I'm not sure that bringing in power arm after power arm after power arm that successful bullpens are doing now is anything I'd want to change. I am amazed at the heat guys are bringing out of the bullpen these days. For example, the Rockies bring in two lefties last night throwing 94-95. It's getting crazy.
Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em
So the general consensus is to keep Chapman as a one inning save opportunity guy?
"But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."