Addison Reed, Arizona Diamondbacks, Bullpen dominance, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Michael Taylor, MLB, Oakland A's, Relief pitchers, TV, Washington Nationals
The guy hawking bottle water Wednesday afternoon near the light rail stop on Jefferson Street in Phoenix knew his audience.
“Bottled water, colder than Addison Reed’s pitching arm.”
Are ineffective arms called cold, the way a slumping hitter’s bat is called cold?
OK perhaps not the slickest line, but I think fans leaving the game — in which Arizona’s Reed blew a ninth inning save when he gave up a grand slam to Washington’s Michael Taylor — appreciated the tailored sales pitch.
A recurring theme in the off-season and early season broadcasts is how dominant bullpens have become, that the game is essentially over after six innings. But the story line misses a point.
It’s a long way from universal. (It’s also an odd theme to continually pound, coming from someone who presumably wants the audience to stick around until the end of the game.)
The major-league ERA for bullpens through Wednesday’s game is 3.56, about a half run better than collective ERA of starters.
But several teams have awful bullpens. Cincinnati and Colorado have bullpen ERAs over 5.00; Oakland is just under 5.00.
Kansas City relief corp, the group that gave life to this narrative during the 2014 postseason, has an impressive 1.63 ERA.
But the Royals pen has somehow managed to blow seven saves so far, second in the majors behind Miami’s unreliable relievers, who have blown eight.
Even with Kansas City, it seems, it ain’t over until it’s over.