Monday, September 8, 2008

Under-employed

The Brewers bullpen has been brutal in September (4.88 ERA) making Ned Yost want to stick with his starters as long as he can. If you remember late last year the bullpen also struggled and was a major contributor to the team fizzling away its lead in the NL Central. The excuse last year was that the bullpen was over worked. This year I wonder if the cause is that it's under worked.

Look at the bullpen innings per game this year compared to last year:


Bullpen Innings

2008 2007
April 3.3 3.0
May 2.8 2.7
June 2.7 3.1
July 2.7 3.2
August 2.1 3.4
September 3.5 3.3

In June, July and August this year, the Brewers pen pitched 62 fewer innings than in the same three months last year. I can't help but wonder if some of the relievers would be pitching better if had they been picking up a few garbage innings here and there over the summer.

CC Sabathia has 6 complete games for the Brewers since the trade. On August 18, Yost left him in for a 130 pitch complete game in which the Brewers won 7-1. On August 31, he went the distance again in his now famous one-hitter. Perhaps Ned Yost should have been thinking about getting his bullpen some work in a few of those games.

After the on-hitter, Yost threw a little tirade about the judgement of the official scorer. The Brewers are 2-6 since that game. I'm not saying that Yost's hissy fit is the sole cause of the recent slump, but I stand by what I said about the importance of not losing focus of the big picture.

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