Monday, June 02, 2008

When relievers are no relief

How not to preserve a win for your team and your starting pitcher:
* Pitcher Change: John Foster replaces Matt Wright.
* Ryan Roberts singles on a ground ball to center fielder Mitch Maier.
* Nelson Cruz walks. Ryan Roberts to 2nd.
* Coaching visit to mound.
* Jason Botts walks. Ryan Roberts to 3rd. Nelson Cruz to 2nd.
* Chris Davis hits a grand slam (2) to left field. Ryan Roberts scores. Nelson Cruz scores. Jason Botts scores.
* John Mayberry doubles (8) on a line drive to left fielder Chris Lubanski.
* German Duran strikes out swinging.
* Taylor Teagarden flies out to left fielder Chris Lubanski.
* Drew Meyer called out on strikes.

Notice that all those things in bold text happened with no outs. Also take note that this is not some scary work of fiction; it actually happened this afternoon as the Omaha Royals visited the Oklahoma RedHawks. Matt Wright had pitched seven pretty good innings, including a dominating showing in the bottom of the 7th, where he threw 7 pitches to get his first three batters out. At that point, Omaha led 5-3, and Mike Jerschele called for John Foster to take care of the Hawks in the 8th.

It didn't work. Foster never found the strike zone, throwing something like four strikes in four at-bats leading up to the Chris Davis grand slam. Mark Nassar sounded like he needed a hug as he made the call. I sounded like I needed anger management classes. But now that I look at the workload the bullpen has taken on lately, I guess Foster had to get through that inning come hell or high water (or a grand slam that erases a W for Wright).

Neal Musser worked three innings last night (and got the odd combination of a blown save and the win), and Roberto Giron worked three innings the day before that, which pretty much leaves Brad Salmon and Devon Lowery. Roman Colon is making the spot start for Omaha tomorrow, which probably means the bullpen had to be used sparingly today so they're ready for a couple extra innings of work in relief of Colon. Colon, by the way, looked really good in long relief in the game that was suspended by the acid spill last week. That 3.2 inning stint was his last outing, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him go 4+ innings tomorrow. The Omaha bullpen will need to be prepared for a few more innings than usual tomorrow, which meant a frustrating day for John Foster today, and a loss that may have been (sadly) necessary.
Meanwhile, in the Big Leagues, Kansas City is on a winning streak. Praise the Lord!

1 comment:

Mitch said...

Speaking of blown saves, John Smoltz comes to mind. Meh, it was his first day back, and we still won. I'll give him a break.