Are The Phillies Misusing Jonathan Papelbon?

Jonathan Papelbon has been sharp in his debut season with the Phillies thus far. He has allowed just four runs in his first 15 innings of work (2.40 ERA) and continues to blow away hitters, notching 18 strikeouts already. He was unavailable Monday afternoon, though — after throwing the past three nights consecutively, including with a four-run lead in Sunday’s game (+0.01 WPA), Papelbon was unavailable. It was Chad Qualls‘s ninth inning, then, when the Phillies took a 3-1 lead into the ninth against the Astros.

Qualls wouldn’t finish the ninth, as the Astros tied the game behind four hits and nearly took the lead, stranding runners on second and third thanks to Jake Diekman‘s first career strikeout. Hunter Pence picked up Qualls with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, but with Papelbon making $50 million over the next four years, it’s easy to question Charlie Manuel when he sits in the bullpen as a journeyman reliever blows a save. Is what we saw Monday a theme for the season?

Of the five Phillies relievers to pitch at least eight innings this year (Papelbon, Qualls, Jose Contreras, Joe Savery and Antonio Bastardo), Papelbon ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of gmLI, or the leverage index at the time the reliever was called upon. Bastardo, who has been as good (if not better) than Papelbon so far, with a 1.20 ERA and 2.69 FIP, leads at 1.76 — a very closer-esque number. Qualls comes in at second at 1.35 and then we see Papelbon at 1.19.

The easy response here is that the Phillies aren’t squeezing as much out of Papelbon as they could. Papelbon has seen action eight times with a LI below 1.0 as opposed to seven times over it. At least these other times weren’t the back end of consecutive outings — Papelbon had at least one day of rest and up to as many as three in each instance besides Sunday night’s.

The problem is the Phillies just haven’t had that many tough situations to put him in. He’s only been forced to save one one-run game all season — opening day against the Pirates. The Phillies have shown a major propensity for scoring late in games — 59 of 138 (43%) total runs came in innings seven, eight or nine entering Monday’s game. Thus in some cases where it looked like Papelbon could be left with a stressful ninth inning, he’s been given a two, three, or (as happened Sunday) four run lead instead, if not passed over completely as a result.

Could the Phillies find more spots to use Papelbon? Probably. Although many managers avoid using their closers in extra inning road games, Manuel is notorious for it. The Phillies have lost four extra-inning road games this season, and Papelbon hasn’t been called upon in either of them. But the problem of Papelbon’s lack of appearances in tight ninth innings should be solved by time, as the Phillies will eventually give him a one-run lead or two to work with, and he’ll get a chance to prove his worth then.

When Charlie Manuel had Jonathan Papelbon get warming on Sunday, it appeared the Phillies would be facing the exact situation that burned Chad Qualls Monday afternoon. Could Manuel have held Papelbon back after Philadelphia plated two in the eighth? It’s possible, but maybe Papelbon would have needed to rest Monday as a result of the warmup alone. The problem for the Phillies on Monday wasn’t that they misused Jonathan Papelbon so badly that he was unavailable, it was that Chad Qualls was the next choice in the Phillies’ bullpen. Even beyond Qualls, the Phillies’ bullpen simply hasn’t offered many options this season: only Papelbon, Bastardo and Qualls owned ERAs or FIPs below 3.00 entering the game, and Qualls’s 2.84 ERA was disguising a 5.02 FIP.

Games like these will inexorably lead to questions about the true value of expensive closers like Jonathan Papelbon. But maybe the point that should be raised is this: a good bullpen consists of more than one relief ace. The issue with Charlie Manuel’s bullpen Monday afternoon wasn’t its management, it was a lack of talent beyond its big-money star.




Print This Post



If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to Jack's new project, The Sports Desk on Beacon Reader. Jack also writes for Sports On Earth, The Score, The Classical, and has written for Disciples of Uecker, among others. Follow him on twitter at @jh_moore.

47 Responses to “Are The Phillies Misusing Jonathan Papelbon?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. lester bangs says:

    It’s not really that closers are avoided in extra inning road games so much as managers, wrongly, wait for the save situation to show up. As maddening as Manuel is, he’s just making the mistakes that almost all of baseball makes. How many skippers get it with bullpen usage? Very, very few.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • chuckb says:

      I agree. We tend to focus on mistakes that managers make but when we compare any manager to his peers, who tend to make the same mistakes he made, there’s not much of a difference.

      I really don’t think that managerial decisions, when compared with other managers, have a tremendous impact on the number of wins a team has at the end of the season. They tend to all hurt their teams relatively equally.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      The ideal usage for winning games short term is probably not the ideal usage to avoid injuries. Managers know this and choose to use the longer term strategy with their closer.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Richie says:

    I think most managers now use their closer once he warms up. So if his offense pushes across enough runs in the last half-inning to void the save, in he goes anyway since he’s already warmed up.

    So is that good practice or not? I suspect so, because I also suspect most pitchers hate warming up but then not pitching.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jack says:

    Bruce Bochy? his bullpen management was as big as any reason why the giants won the world series… other than of course brooks conrad

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Chomp says:

    Papelbon closed a one run game on sunday afternoon against the Padres. Minor correction.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Paulie says:

    Change ‘Monday’ to ‘Tuesday’ and you should be set.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin Wilson says:

      He has also saved two 1-run leads this year. Opening Day and this past Sunday. Fact check, my friend.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Richard says:

      Yeah, the days are off on this. It was Monday he finished a 4-run lead, his third game in a row, and Tuesday he wasn’t available.

      Also, the article misses the couple of 8th inning leads the Phillies blew when Papelbon was held out. Apparently it’s not done to either have a greater than 3-out save or put out an 8th inning fire and let someone else get the three outs in the 9th (if you’re worried about the former). The 15-13 loss to Atlanta was the most egregious example.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Josh G says:

    Just because few managers make correct decisions does not mean we should allow it as a matter of course. One day the strategy of not using closers on the road in a tie game will be looked on as archaic and wrong by baseball mainstream, too.

    The real indictment of Papelbon’s misusage is he was used on May 12 in the 9th inning while the Phillies were losing. Why? He had only been used once in the previous 11 days while these tie games on the road were coming. So when a true save situation comes up on May 13 and he warms in anticipation of the same situation on May 14 he becomes unavailable on May 15. If he had pitched only May 13 and May 14 would he be available May 15? I don’t know, but I would think the answer is yes – he clearly can pitch 3 days in a row.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • The Real Neal says:

      This article should have been called “Exhuming the Dead Horse in Philly”, and this comment “Let me have a go at that!”

      Everyone knows managers don’t always use their best reliever in the highest leverage situations… now that it’s the year 2006, can we move on?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. nik says:

    Once Paps warmed up on Monday, he was already not going to pitch today even if Charlie pulled him back. I think a full warm-up counts as an appearance. Also Bastardo would have been the guy in the 9th today except he also pitched in 2 straight. Hopefully Diekman continues his recent minor league dominance and becomes a reliable late-inning arm. Dude is filthy.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. elkabong says:

    Living in Pittsburgh and being a Phillies’ fan, I got to see firsthand Charlie Manuel misuse the bullpen in two games opening weekend and once more when we went to see the Phillies in DC May 4th.

    April 7
    April 8
    May 4

    On April 7th, he allowed Michael Stutes to pitch to the 2-3-4 hitters in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth and also allowed Joe Blanton to stay in the game with one out and a man on third in the bottom of the tenth, where a strikeout would be the best outcome. Blanton had already allowed Rod Barajas to nearly hit a home run, missing literally by inches. LI range of 1.69 to 5.49 with no Papelbon. He also tried to use Laynce Nix to bunt Hunter Pence from first to second with no out in a tie game in the top of the ninth, which ended not well.

    On April 8th, there were a number of times Papelbon should have been brought in. First and second with both one and two outs in the bottom of the eighth in a one run game, facing PH-1-2 in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, man on third with one out in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game. LI 2.20 to 5.34 with no Papelbon.

    On May 4th, while there were several opportunities to bring in Papelbon, most egregious was after Michael Schwimmer had walked Bryce Harper with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, with Schwimmer having already pitched 2.2 innings, with Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy (4-5 hitters) coming up. Schwimmer walked the bases loaded and gave up a single to Wilson Ramos to end the game, all with their clear-cut best reliever sitting in the bullpen. LI from 1.26 to 5.37 (1 out in the 8th until the walk-off) with no Papelbon.

    Charlie Manuel is clearly not interested in using Papelbon in anything but save situations, situations where he has warmed up for the save but the lead grew, or the top of the 9th in a tie game. I have been to five Phillies’ games this year and three of them have seen the Phillies lose in walk-off fashion with Papelbon nowhere to be seen. It’s not that the Phillies haven’t had tough situations in which to use Papelbon, they just choose not to use him. With this mentality, Charlie has already thrown away as many as three games and with the way the offense has been struggling, there will likely be a few more cases of this throughout the course of the season.

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • nik says:

      Where is the guarantee Phillies would have won those games. Papelbon could have given up a winning run himself, or maybe he would simply delay the loss by an inning.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • elkabong says:

        Agreed that Papelbon could have given up the winning run in any of those, but would you rather have Michael Schwimmer or Jonathan Papelbon on 40 pitches pitching with the bases loaded and two outs? David Herndon or Papelbon pitching to Andrew McCutchen with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the 10th? While bringing in Papelbon does not guarantee victory, it gives you a significantly better opportunity. If you keep betting bad hands in poker, you will end up losing more than you win.

        +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. elkabong says:

    Correction, Michael Schwimmer on 40 pitches or Jonathan Papelbon, not Michael Schwimmer or Jonathan Papelbon on 40 pitches.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Jon L. says:

    I’m surprised to hear the Phillies haven’t had good opportunities to employ Papelbon at the end of games. Has it just been pure chance? My expectation would be that a team with great starting pitching and a badly depleted offense would play a lot of close games.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • hk says:

      That depends upon if you consider protecting an 8th inning lead to be a good opportunity to employ Papelbon at the end of games. The Phils have already had at least three situations of this sort and they decided not to use him.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nik says:

        Manuel said he’s not opposed to running Papelbon in the 8th but not this early on in the season. Protecting the investment.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. DD says:

    Jack, shouldn’t we mention the context of how that high leverage is obtained? Bastardo, as the team’s top LH reliever, is going to come in during more mid-inning fires, which generally have more leverage than starting a clean inning, even with a one run lead. When people point to closers not having the top LI spot on a team, it’s largely because of this point.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • elkabong says:

      But that’s exactly the point of this article. Teams should be using their “closer” (who is often their best reliever) in these situations. While Bastardo should be near or above Papelbon for highest LI on the team simply because he will be called upon to face left handed hitters in tough situations, Manuel should be using Papelbon in situations like May 4th (bases loaded, two outs, bottom 11th, right handed batter) or April 8th (man on third, one out, bottom 9th, right handed batter). He shouldn’t be saving Papelbon for when his team is leading by two in the next inning, because a lesser pitcher (Qualls, Contreras, et. al) should be able to handle that lower leverage situation. Charlie is letting an arbitrarily defined individual statistic take precedence over the single most important statistic in baseball. They aren’t going to let the Phillies into the playoffs if Papelbon has 50 saves but the team finishes fourth in the NL East.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Real Neal says:

        “He shouldn’t be saving Papelbon for when his team is leading by two in the next inning, because a lesser pitcher (Qualls, Contreras, et. al) should be able to handle that lower leverage situation. ”

        (completely ignoring the fact that the impetus for this article was Qualls blowing a 2-run lead).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • vivalajeter says:

        “Manuel should be using Papelbon in situations like May 4th (bases loaded, two outs, bottom 11th, right handed batter) or April 8th (man on third, one out, bottom 9th, right handed batter).”

        Was Papelbon warmed up and ready to go both days? If not, how long does it take him to get loose? If it takes 5 minutes to get loose, should they have predicted 5 minutes ahead of time that there’d be a bases loaded 2 out situation with a right handed batter?

        Lookit, it’s easy to look back on a game and pick the critical at bats. It’s much more difficult to see these coming ahead of time, and have your top reliever loose and ready to go just in case. You don’t want Papelbon getting loose every inning and throwing 75 warmup pitches in the bullpen over the course of the last few innings, in the event that you might need him to put out a fire.

        If you want to argue that he should be used in the 9th of a tie game, that’s fine. To expect him to get called into a game in the middle of an inning on short notice – that’s hindsight at its worst.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • elkabong says:

        @Real Neal – I’m not saying it’s going to work 100% of the time. As I stated before, it’s all about putting yourself in the best position to win. Ultimately, Papelbon can’t pitch every day, so the Phillies definitely need guys who can handle low leverage situations. However, maybe they should have thought about bringing in Qualls in the even lower leverage situation the day before, so Papelbon would have been available on Tuesday.

        @vivalajeter – I agree that you can’t constantly be getting Papelbon up and down all the time. But how many times have you seen a pitching coach go out to the mound to kill time to get a reliever warm? Each of the PIT-PHI games described started the inning with a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt. You’re telling me that in that situation, where 99% of the time there’s going to be a sacrifice bunt, Papelbon can’t get warm? Schwimmer had over 40 pitches in the WAS-PHI game and proceeded to walk three batters, they couldn’t get Papelbon (or anyone, really) up over that time? Teams bring in their closers in the middle of an inning all the time. Papelbon entered in the middle of an inning 5 times out of 63 last year, 9 out of 65 the year before. It’s not standard, but sometimes it has to be done. There are ways to make it happen.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Real Neal says:

        It’s fair to say the manager badly bungled the Monday game, because he had a 4 run lead and Qualls had only pitched 1/3rd of an inning when he lifted Qualls for a pinch hitter.

        You’re telling me that in that situation, where 99% of the time there’s going to be a sacrifice bunt, Papelbon can’t get warm?

        I’ll tell you that your estimated percentage there is not reasonable .Even if there was a hitter who could sacrifice successfully 99% of the time, managers aren’t going to choose to bunt there 100% of the time (well, Dale Sveum may chose to sacrificie bunt to lead off an inning). The real odds of a sac bunt there are probably more like 50%.

        But the larger point is, that these situations due happen quite quickly, and certain relievers can get up and sit down and get up and sit down repeatedly, but all can’t. Papelbon has never been used this way, so to imply that he can with no effect on his health and effectivenss, is speaking for a position of ignornace. Maybe he can, more likely, though he cannot.

        For the most part, when you warm up a reliever, you need to use him, or at least count it as a use. Baseball managers understand this, because they have pitched and talk with pitchers and coaches on a daily basis. People perusing box scores, where “warmed up” isn’t counted as a stat, often times don’t.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • elkabong says:

        So only half the managers in baseball would sacrifice bunt with nobody out and a man on second where one run automatically wins the game? Even if that were the case, which I think is a conservative estimate, I guarantee you Clint Hurdle bunts there 100 times out of 100. This is a guy who bunts the leadoff man from first to second with nobody out in a walk-off scenario. I’m agreeing with you that Papelbon shouldn’t constantly be up and down all the time. However, when you know you want him in the game, there are ways to stretch out his warmup time. Mound visit by the catcher, mound visit by the pitching coach, throws over to “check on the runner”, etc. I’m also contending that he should be up at the beginning of some of these innings anyway, which would give him plenty of warmup time.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Real Neal says:

        So only half the managers in baseball would sacrifice bunt with nobody out and a man on second where one run automatically wins the game?

        Only half the time will the manager elect to bunt and have the bunt succesfully excecuted, depending on all sorts of circumstances. I’m not really onboard with the premise that he shouldn’t have been brought in to start the inning, anyway.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Jason H says:

    I’m not comfortable with the suggestion (implied by many here) that every single manager in baseball is clueless. Is there any evidence that teams would actually win more games using the FanGraphs managing-by-simple-algorithm approach? If not, then the FanGraphs approach is a hypothesis to be tested, not a tool to question the intelligence of professional baseball managers. You might predict that teams would do better with your method, but you don’t know it. We shouldn’t be so bold.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eric R says:

      Well maybe I missed it, but I don’t see where the author stated the Phillies would have won more games with ‘better’ use of their bullpen. the closest I see is ‘Could the Phillies find more spots to use Papelbon? Probably.’…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason H says:

        Eric,

        Read the comment thread to see what I am talking about. I was thinking of the commenters, not the author.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • vivalajeter says:

      I agree, Jason. There seem to be 2 possibilities:

      1) All managers over the last couple of decades are morons when it comes to bullpen management, and Fangraphs Commentors are much better suited for the task.

      2) Bullpen management is a lot more complicated than looking at a game log after the fact and deciding which reliever should have been used in which spot.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Eric R says:

        Most often is that managers go ‘by the book’ so when it doesn’t work, they don’t get roasted…?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • elkabong says:

        I personally attended three of the four extra inning losses mentioned in the piece and questioned at the time why Papelbon was not being used. I was most definitely not alone in questioning Charlie Manuel’s decisions in the stands. I can assure you that this mismanagement is not only being questioned in retrospect, but during the flow of play. But thanks for assuming they only way FanGraphs commentors get their baseball information is via game logs. It’s not like the game logs are used to support points being made. I much prefer the “all managers do it, so it must be right” argument, it works much better than real evidence.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason H says:

        I like to think that if a manager’s concern was not getting roasted when their moves don’t work out they’d try to minimize making moves that don’t work out rather than trying to infer what other people think they ought to have done. …at least in the former strategy they are actively trying to win! In your suggestion, managers put the opinions of others before their own when two are in conflict.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason H says:

        elkabong,

        There is no evidence showing that managers, by and large, use their bullpens less effectively than they otherwise could have and that they lose games because of it. There are reasonable hypotheses that they do.

        “I much prefer the “all managers do it, so it must be right” argument, it works much better than real evidence.”

        Managers lose their jobs by losing and keep their jobs by winning. The system actually selects for managers that employ successful strategies whether they understand why they do what they do or not. This is a process akin to evolution. Evolution removes variation from populations by driving successful variants to fixation and unsuccessful ones to extinction. If all managers employ a strategy and there is no variation, you might guess that it is actually a pretty successful strategy. It is not an unreasonable position to take.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • elkabong says:

        Jason, while I do like your comparison to evolution, I would argue that the reason managers don’t vary from the set strategy is because if they gamble and lose, they will be held accountable, whereas if they stick to the accepted norm and lose, the players are held accountable. Ultimately, I would posit that no other strategy has been tested with any sort of significance, therefore there has been no potential for variation. Additionally, the “natural selection” is not done strictly by wins and losses, but perception by a particular group, be it management, ownership, and/or the fans.

        I think this is a difference of opinion between you and I that won’t be resolved in this conversation. I do respect your take on it, however, and appreciate your support of your point.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason H says:

        Elkabong,

        In my recollection, the history of bullpen management goes something like this:

        1) Teams used their best relievers as “firemen” and brought them into the game in tough spots.
        2) Tony La Russa introduced the use of a structured bullpen with predefined roles into baseball (mutation).
        3) La Russa’s strategy swept threw baseball like a wildfire to the point where in just a few seasons every team in baseball had adopted it (selective sweep).
        4) Every now and again teams will try alternate strategies like “closer by committee”, etc. but it always fails and the team quickly switches back to La Russa’s strategy or the manager and/or general manager gets fired (purifying selection).

        Classic evolution!

        Its not that other strategies aren’t tried, it is just that they haven’t yet been successful.

        …of course, the ultimate fate of every genetic lineage is extinction, so there may be a better strategy out there yet!

        cheers!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Muggi says:

    Qualls has just been awful the last couple weeks. He thought he had found a “hitch” in his mechanics, solved it, and yesterday happened.

    On the plus side Jake Diekman is looking like a name we’ll be hearing a whole lot more of. 95-96 with movement and location, good sweeping slider he can locate, and all from a side-arming lefty. Philly’s next Bastardo.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Antonio Bananas says:

    I’m guessing most managers do this. It doesn’t take a statistician to realize that coming in with no outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd, middle of the lineup coming up, with a close game, that you probably need your best reliever to come in as opposed to clean inning with a lead with (I’m assuming) only having to face the meat of the lineup 1/3 of the time.

    I know people argue the psychological strain of not knowing when you come in or whatever or how coming in with just 3 outs to get for a victory is stressful. I just don’t buy it.

    Freddi Gonzalez drives me crazy with this. In the Cards series he brought in Livan Hernandez with the top of the order coming up bottom 10. He ended up getting out of a bases loaded jam twice. Once they got the lead, then he brought in Kimbrel. Most of the time, Livan doesn’t strand 6 guys in two innings and the game is over with Kimbrel still in the pen.

    He does shit like that with Venters too. If it’s the 6th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd he won’t bring in Venters. Even though Venters has a super high gb rate, he’ll bring in Medlen (which isn’t bad) or Durbin (which is stupid). He has Venters slotted in the 8th inning or at best, 2 outs in the 7th to get out of a jam.

    Doesn’t make sense to me but it’s baseball culture I guess and most people love the save stat.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • The Real Neal says:

      What happens if you get Venters up in the 6th, then before he’s ready to come in, the other pitcher gets out of the jam, and then you need him in the 7th, 8th or 9th? So you get him back up, and he works out of a jam in the 8th, and then you can’t use him the next day.

      It’s not that cut and dry. There are some bad decisions made by managers, but really in this article, there’s only one or maybe two.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        What happens if the pitcher doesn’t get out of the jam and gets clobbered for a 3 run jack? If you were down by 1, suddenly you’re down by 4. I think preventing whatever runs you can at the time is the best way to go.

        I would think that it’d make more sense to bring in a long reliever with a lead in the 8th and let them pitch the 8th and the 9th. Use your better relievers for the intense situations when the starter is gassed.

        You’re right, it’s not always that simple, especially not in the NL. I’ve noticed Freddi Gonzalez likes to use Chad Durbin with more than 1 out with the pitcher spot due in the next inning. Basically using Durbin so he doesn’t have to “waste” a reliever on just 1 or 2 outs. As long as Durbin keeps getting out of innings with deep flyballs (like his last 2 outings) and not home runs, that’s fine I guess.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hk says:

        Clearly not all situations are cut and dried and there is the risk of having one of your top releivers (i.e. Venters) throw many pitches in the bullpen without even being used. However, there are also situations like the Phillies vs. Braves game on May 2 in which the Phillies led 12-8 after tacking on 3 runs in the top of the 8th. In a game against a division rival, the manager has to be prepared to go to his best reliever if the game gets close. Jose Contreras started the bottom of the 8th and was replaced during the inning by Michael Schwimer with one out, the bases loaded and the Braves having cut the deficit to 12-9. If there was enough time for Schwimer to get ready, there should have been enough time for Papelbon to get ready. Schwimer gave up a walk, a single and a sac fly to squander the lead before retiring the final batter of the inning. We don’t know that Papelbon would have done better, but my thought was at the time and continues to be, I would rather my $12.5M per year pitcher come into this situation than a guy who was in AAA the week prior.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        The whole warm up time is something that I don’t think is studied enough. If a guy has too little/too much etc. I was at the Braves/Cards series finale last Sunday. Martinez must have been warming up on and off for 30 minutes in the Braves pen. He came out sharp and then ended up getting relieved after allowing an enormous 3-run bomb to Allen Craig. I am convinced it was because he would warm up, sit down, warm up, sit down, play catch to stay loose, sit down, warm up, etc for 30 minutes.

        Does anyone know if managers have maybe notes about approximately how long each reliever needs? I’d guess that relievers with more experience need less time because they know their routine better. Or maybe guys with different pitch types require different times.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Joebrady says:

    Most of the article is based on two assumptions that assumed to be true, but which cannot be prove. Mostly the assumption that anyone can close. If anyone can pitch in the 9th like they can in any other inning, then that would be true. However, it’s alway been my experience that many pitchers simpy do a real bad job in a save situation, that might otherwise be a good pitcher. I don’t think I have ever seen a manager who thought these innings were interchangeable.

    IRT to putting in Paps without a save on the line, I’ve seen plenty of managers do that. You don’t sit your closer because an arbitrary number like 3 becomes a 4-run lead. Are you really better off sitting your closer, after warming him up, only to have to warm him up again if your setup guy puts two guys on?

    I’d like to save IPs as much as anyone, but once a guy is ready to go, unless you’ve truly blown out the game, you’re probably best off going with him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *