It can’t be a good feeling for Jim Leyland when ever he ambles out to the mound and points towards the bullpen. It doesn’t seem to matter lately who gets the call, they will invariably allow more baserunners than outs. The numbers posted by the pen during the 5 game losing streak are simply staggering.
In the 5 game skid the bullpen has been called on to pitch 14 1/3 innings in 18 “calls to the pen.” Over those 14 1/3 innings they have allowed 23 hits, 12 walks, and 18 runs. Five of those hits have left the park. Only 8 hitters have gone down on strikes. It is simply amazing that they could perform so poorly as a group. They had to face 79 batters to record those 43 outs – and the last out came on a pickoff where Fu-Te Ni didn’t throw a pitch.
After the Royals series I laid some of the blame on the starters not working deep enough into games and thus exposing the less dependable members of the relief corps to high leverage innings. But in Saturday night’s game Jackson got the ball to Brandon Lyon – who picked up the blown save a wild pitch. And then a tie game was handed over to Fernando Rodney – and he allowed a 2 out 2 run homer. It doesn’t matter who comes trotting out, they are going to allow baserunners.
Of those 18 calls to the pen, the incoming reliever was charged with at least 1 run 10 different times. Miner, Bonine, Perry, Seay, Galarraga, it doesn’t matter. They’ve all been charged with runs in the last week. Ni is the only one to see his ERA unblemished and he even walked one of the 2 batters he faced.
Until the bullpen gets out of its collective funk the starters will need to find a way to pitch deeper and the offense will need to find a way to put games out of reach (in a favorable way). Neither of those events have been occurring and thus you have a losing streak.