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The bullpen

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Ah, the bullpen, every team's weakness and every messageboard's punching bag. Well, first the obvious, the staff is performing below-average to the tune of .3% relative to the rest of the league, ninth worst of the thirty teams (note: all of these are skewed to be better than they really are because the Indians' enormous suckitude (45% below average)). Most of the teams near us are within a game or two around .500 (Reds, Cardinals, Brewers). The Chicago Cubs' bullpen are performing 1.5% blow average yet are 3 1/2 games over .500 (23-16) mainly because Dusty Baker uses them to pitch fewer innings and the Cubs lineup has been doing well. On the other end the Devil Rays' and Mariners' pens are performing just above us at 0.5-1% above average, but have contributed their disappointing seasons due to how much their teams rely on their relievers to hold small leads. You see we need to stop thinking of relievers as saviors and remind ourselves they are just the guys who complete the games for starters. They are either given the lead or asked to keep the game close so the offense can catch up. They are rarely the difference in ball games.


Now let's look closer at the specific relievers. Armando Benitez aside from a few doubles and a wild throw has been perfect. The others, heh... One player who receives an awfully lot of curses from us is Nate Bump. And for good reason, his ERA is worst among active Marlins not named Darren Oliver. However did you know why? When he has left the game with the a baserunner on chances are the next reliever allows Bump's baserunners to score. Granted his control problems are the reason why batters get on base and why McKeon is unwilling to trust him to continue, but he ranks near last in being bailed out. On the complete other end of that statistic is another Marlin, Matt Perisho. Often we pride him for coming in to get a tough lefty out, however he has walked a third of the lefties he's faced and has been hammered by righthanders but has managed to be bailed out every time. Of the 11 baserunners he's left after leaving the game none have scored. Often it has been the aforementioned Bump as well as Justin Wayne that have come to his rescue. They have proved to be valuable in jam situations combining to allow just over a quarter of inherited runners to cross home plate. This really shouldn't surprise us, groundball pitchers like Nate Bump can induce many more double plays and halt baserunners, while Justin Wayne throws strikes often and is willing to chance a ball in play (smart for him, even the best hitters produce an out 60% of the time). Tommy Phelps has also been battered around showing in no way he deserves to be on the team. The rare times he has come into the game he's been hit, and has often been spared embarrassment by the relievers that replaced him and retired his baserunners. Yet maybe that has something to do with how he is being used. Phelps, like Wayne, has been throwing more strikes than the rest of the staff. He's walked just two batters and has averaged a strikeout per inning despite rarely pitching around batters (3.35 pitches per opponents' plate appearance). Pretty solid stuff so why has he given up so many hits (15 in 11 IP)? Defense. Specifically infield defense. He's given up twice as many groundballs as fly balls (16 to 8) which you would think would be converted to outs most of the time given our infield's great range. But that hasn't been the case. He's probably best suited as a lefty specialist anyhow but with a bit of support he'd be equally tough on righthanders as well.

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Very interesting analysis. Are you using ERA in your first paragraph to arrive at those rankings? If not which statistic? Your second paragraph is a perfect example of why ERA is not a very good indicator of a relievers value.

Adjusted runs prevented

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in a nutshell: yes, they suck


Thanks for saving me from reading the long post :thumbup Or you could read it and discover how McKeon has been mismanaging relievers. Such as using stoppers like Wayne and Bump to lead off innings and in blowouts when they should be used in the way Fox was late last year and how the A's have used Chad Bradford.

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Guest Jack1

Great post and analysis! Unfortunately on this message board, the posters can't see the whole picture and are quick to call people names (Garbage is a favorite name used here).

You know it's not easy getting to the minor leagues let alone the major leagues. All of these guys have worked very hard and for YEARS. None of them deserve to be called garbage!

Why don't you whiners get off your bar stools and get a life?

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Excellent post but this may be the all-time Nate Bump apologist.


BOTTOM 3 in each category


OBA. Against(Bullpen):

Perisho .375

Bump .389

Gracesqui .478


SLG% Against:

Phelps .422

Bump .444

Wayne .493



Perisho 1.59

Bump 1.76

Gracesqui 2.25


In Bump's last 11 appearances he has given up runs in 7 of them.


In 2003 with runners on base oppenents had an AVE of .316 against Bump. This year they have a .368 average.


As for Perisho, he is definitly flawed. He cannot get a righty out and he cannot pitch back to back days. When he has at least 1 days rest his ERA is 1.22 and batting average against is .136. With 0 days rest their average is .400 and his ERA 5.40.


Try finding any bright spot in Bump's numbers and I'll give him credit...I looked and you can't.

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Nope, you can't. It's not as bad as made out to be, but pretty damn close. Certainly that time when he was used by McKeon despite being tired (having thrown something like 100 pitches in three appearances over four days) has some effect in those numbers.

My point was as I have been making for some time that relievers are perform accustomed to the roles you set them in. Maybe Bump's role shouldn't be in blow out situations. Maybe we should save him for high pressure situations when we need a double play.

I really wished we had some quality righthanders in AAA to call up. Ben Howard and Mike Nannini haven't done well, but Bill Murphy in AA has.

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ya know as bad as they've been, at least they haven't exactly blown many games themselves.... (knock on wood)


it's been mostly a case of them coming in with the team already losing, & just giving up more runs. not a good thing (obviously) but i don't think they've come in with a lead & blown it very often.

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A few stats that indicate how much a few guys have hurt us......


Our team ERA is 4.00, 10th best in MLB.


Our team ERA without Wayne, Bump and Oliver is 3.32....the best in MLB.


AJ back in the rotation and 2 decent arms in the pen will solve the problem.

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