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WeatherWonk

A good use of a bullpen game?

17 posts in this topic

The so-called Bullpen Game has gotten much use this year. Is it more than other years? I dont know, but it seems like it. It's hard to tell with starters going such short distances these days.

I was texting a baseball friend of mine the other day, who is a big A's fan. Naturally, he's ecstatic at how the season has gone.

But he has real concerns about who will pitch that one-game playoff for the A's. He thinks it's one and done for the A's because of a lack of a great starter.

Manaea is gone. Brett Anderson and Cahill have been very inconsistent and have nagging injuries. Edwin Jackson has an history of inconsistency. You dont move around that much if you are consistently GOOD.  Mengden has only recently returned from a two-month DL stint. He's looked OK. The A's hitting and bullpen have been winning their games, lately. Not the starters.

Mike Fiers is the exception. He would certainly start that game, with conventional thinking.

Which got me thinking, unconventionally. Wouldn't the one-game WC play-in game be the PERFECT TIME for a team like the A's to employ a bullpen game? Doesnt this make a lot of sense for ANY WC team with a decent bullpen, especially if you only have one decent starter? Why not employ a bullpen game for the WC and save your good starter for game one of the LDS series?

Since the start of the new WC format in 2012, only FIVE teams (out of 24) who won the WC game, advanced past the LDS series. Only two have made it to the WS. That was, coincidentally, in the same year, 2014, when both the Giants and the Royals made it. Burning that top starter in the WC game is often pointed to as the biggest disadvantage that is placed on the WC teams. I would agree.

In the case of OAK, this might REALLY make a lot of sense this year. There is a day off between the AL WC game and the start of the ALDS. Their relievers will get a day off between series, assuming they win.

In case you havent been following the A's, they have TWO former closers in their bullpen right now (Rodney and Familia), plus Treinen, their current closer. They also have a great setup guy in Trivino. Then, there's ex-Angel Petit and a few other young guys who have looked good, but no one who isn't an A's fan would have heard of.  Overall, the A's have the 2nd lowest reliever ERA and WHIP in the AL.

Doesnt it make sense for the A's to employ a bullpen game in the WC game?

It has the other advantage of being able to match up righty-righty and lefty-lefty against the other teams lineup, as the innings progress. And there is no concern about a starter facing a lineup "the third time through the lineup". Not that starters make it through the lineup that many times, these days. Especially in the playoffs.

Whaddaya think?

 

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I actually think it's a good idea for the A's to employ a bullpen game for the one-game WC playoff. But if it backfired, everyone would mock them for doing something so unconventional in the most important game of the season. If it worked, everyone would call them geniuses.

I say they should go for it.

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As last night's game indicated, a good bullpen is necessary for a good bullpen outcome. 

I found an A's discussion board last night and there was already a thread started about this idea for the WC game. A couple proponents of it also didnt want Fiers, a flyball pitcher, pitching in Yankee stadium if the A's dont pass the Yankees. So, they liked the idea of a bullpen game. Remember, the A's must finish one game ahead of the Yankees as the Yankees own the tie-breaker for HFA.

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7 minutes ago, floplag said:

in our case bullpen game means no healthy pitcher available 

It's not that far from true for the A's, either.

But for the Angels, the A's would have the most pitchers on the DL this year. They have seven pitchers on the 60 day DL, right now. Three of their expected starters have undergone TJS. Gossett, Cotton and Graveman. Two others are out for the season with other ailments;  Manaea and Smolinski. Cahill is day-to-day. Anderson returned last night and didnt look good. Triggs may return before the end of the season but is ineligible for the playoffs.

It's going to take a masterful job of managing his pitching staff for Melvin to go very far in the playoffs.

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If it were me, I'd come out with my best starter, but have literally no leash with a bullpen that good.  Let's say Fiers shuts them down through the first three innings and runs into trouble in the fourth.  I'd turn to the bullpen and not wait for him to work his way out of it. 

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28 minutes ago, Scotty@AW said:

If it were me, I'd come out with my best starter, but have literally no leash with a bullpen that good.  Let's say Fiers shuts them down through the first three innings and runs into trouble in the fourth.  I'd turn to the bullpen and not wait for him to work his way out of it. 

I get that. That's pretty much conventional playoff strategy, unless you have a Verlander or a Sale on your staff. 

It will take a courageous manager to opt for a bullpen game and leave your top starter in reserve for the next series. The press will castigate you, if the bullpen implodes.

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36 minutes ago, Scotty@AW said:

If it were me, I'd come out with my best starter, but have literally no leash with a bullpen that good.  Let's say Fiers shuts them down through the first three innings and runs into trouble in the fourth.  I'd turn to the bullpen and not wait for him to work his way out of it. 

I think this is the way every team should handle the WC game (and pretty much does.)

You can change your roster after the WC game so you can have 12 or 13 pitchers and have all of them available. 

Like Scotty said, I’d still start with my best starter, but I would have a super quick hook. If that starter ends up only throwing 40-50 pitches, he could still pitch Games 2 and 5 of the DS. 

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34 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I think this is the way every team should handle the WC game (and pretty much does.)

You can change your roster after the WC game so you can have 12 or 13 pitchers and have all of them available. 

Like Scotty said, I’d still start with my best starter, but I would have a super quick hook. If that starter ends up only throwing 40-50 pitches, he could still pitch Games 2 and 5 of the DS. 

Even a fly ball pitcher like Fiers.............in Yankee Stadium............against Judge, Hicks, Bird, Stanton, Sanchez? Man, I dont know.

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25 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Isn’t Edwin Jackson their best starter now?

Nope. Consistently, inconsistent. Still too many BB.

It's definitely Fiers. 5-0 with an ERA in the 2s, since he joined them. 0.93 WHIP. 

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4 hours ago, WeatherWonk said:

It's not that far from true for the A's, either.

But for the Angels, the A's would have the most pitchers on the DL this year. They have seven pitchers on the 60 day DL, right now. Three of their expected starters have undergone TJS. Gossett, Cotton and Graveman. Two others are out for the season with other ailments;  Manaea and Smolinski. Cahill is day-to-day. Anderson returned last night and didnt look good. Triggs may return before the end of the season but is ineligible for the playoffs.

It's going to take a masterful job of managing his pitching staff for Melvin to go very far in the playoffs.

Plus Treinen and Trivino especially have to be close to running on fumes.  Familia may get more of the big end of game appearances down the road.

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2 hours ago, Angel Oracle said:

Plus Treinen and Trivino especially have to be close to running on fumes.  Familia may get more of the big end of game appearances down the road.

I've been watching a fair amount of A's baseball and the A's have won 8 of 10. The wins have not been close and only one close loss.

Treinen and Trivino have been in only six and five games, respectively, in September. Treinen hasnt pitched in five days.

Of course, that can all change over the last 15 games of the season.

I have to believe that the A's staff is considering a bullpen game as a real possibility.

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