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Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby aclayman » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:02 am

Just wondered if people had thoughts on Paul's manifesto this morning. It seems like the rebellion against the save stat has really picked up steam this year for whatever reason, which is encouraging. But I still see virtually zero chance of Manny Acta actually going against the book. The main reason managers all use their bullpens the same way now isn't because they're necessarily devoted to the conventional "wisdom." It's because it makes their job easier. These guys are lazy, uninspired, and timid. Having a flexible bullpen means having to explain your decisions as a manager every night. Whereas if everybody just slots in the same place, any bad results are purely the failure of the player to serve his role. Who wouldn't make their lives easier by doing things that way? I like Manny Acta a lot, but I just don't see him turning a 180 on this.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby swerb » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:22 am

Acta will follow the book on this.

Still not convinced the book isn't the right play with this pen though. Perez has a closers mentality. To me, he is best suited for that role, is a better closer than he would be a 8th inning guy, and may melt if they "demoted" him. I think he's an above average closer that understands and relishes closing out games.

One thing I would do more of if I was Manny though ... when Pestano is ROLLIN, I wouldn't necessarily pull him to start the 9th. And vice versa, if the next day Vinnie needs a day off, go to Perez for a 1 2/3 inning save. I'm not a big fan of the "this is our seventh inning guy, this is our 8th inning guy ..." mentality.

Generally speaking, I like the way Acta manages the pitching staff though.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby andrew6586 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:02 pm

I think one of the big problems with the pen this year is the absence of Tim Belcher. He was one of the best pitching coaches in the game last year and I think he is sorely missed. Just my opinion though.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby paulcousineau » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:41 pm

I don't mind the way that Acta handles the bullpen, though I do wish he'd use his relievers based more on situation over inning. Not that one particular instance comes to mind as an example, but rigidity to those innings and roles rather than looking at which hitters are coming up or if there are runners on is an area that I think all managers could improve upon.

The piece was really looking at how to make this bullpen last (health-wise) and perhaps gain a competitive advantage to try something that nobody else is doing or how the Indians could be the team that makes some new strategy work. I don't know what that strategy is, but I don't think that Acta having to answer the press corps for his decisions would be a detriment. He can play it off and most of those guys don't want to be there anyway (in a post-game presser), so much of Cleveland would barely bat an eye if Acta started to slowly change the way he utilized the pen.

Under the hot lights of the NY media, the CHI media, or the BOS media...no chance this could ever gain momentum because he would be crucified the first time something went wrong. In Cleveland, where beat writers are more concerned about the pre-game meal than dissecting strategy and where we're on something like Month 6 of NFL Draft Talk on the radio...yeah, people would hardly notice, much less question it.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby skatingtripods » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:50 pm

andrew6586 wrote:I think one of the big problems with the pen this year is the absence of Tim Belcher. He was one of the best pitching coaches in the game last year and I think he is sorely missed. Just my opinion though.


Radinsky also had to move to the dugout and serve as pitching coach. That also probably had an effect on the bullpen.

Or, guys just haven't done their jobs. I think that's more of it than anything.


Regarding Pestano v. Perez, why take Pestano out of the role he's very comfortable in to move him in to one that will take some getting used to? While he may be a future closer, right now, he's a plus setup guy. There's no reason to shake that up right now.

It definitely takes a special mind to close. Look at the Nats. Why isn't Tyler Clippard, easily their best RP, the closer? He's too valuable in the role he's in. There's always a chance that you add on in the bottom 8th/top 9th before your closer even makes an appearance.

With bullpens, managers have to manage psyche as much as anything. If Pestano strikes out the side in the 8th, and Perez has been struggling, you still go to Perez. You keep giving your closer a vote of confidence. Last thing you want is a reliever second guessing himself and losing confidence. Then you can't use him at all, let alone as a closer.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby aclayman » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:37 pm

I really dislike the "fragile psyche" arguments when it comes to stuff like this. Shouldn't a Major League pitcher have confidence in his ability to come in and get batters out at any point in a game? Obviously, because we created this imaginary need for a closer, we also created an imaginary mindset needed to do it. It's all total b.s. to me. Countless setup men have become good closers and countless closers have lost their jobs. There's no magic to it. It comes down to getting guys out. If you can handle getting out of a bases loaded situation in the 8th with the game tied, you can friggin' pitch to the bottom of the order in a 5-2 game in the ninth. The whole thing is a mass delusion. Same goes for the commonly blabbered about myth that closers don't pitch as well in non-save situations. Do you ever hear anyone say, "well Jeter is a great clutch hitter, but he just doesn't see the ball as well when his team has a comfortable lead." Maybe we can just keep relief pitchers in a dark room during the game, with no access to a television or scoreboard. Then we can just bring them in blind and tell them to get guys out, so the specific nature of the situation won't impact how they feel about themselves.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby FUDU » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:48 pm

paulcousineau wrote:The piece was really looking at how to make this bullpen last (health-wise) and perhaps gain a competitive advantage to try something that nobody else is doing or how the Indians could be the team that makes some new strategy work.


I'm with you on that part, but we're still trying to figure out a more archaic strategy that most other franchises use.

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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby swerb » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:53 pm

It all boils down to how its handled by the manager and the pitching coach.

If thats the way you want to go, your message to the players and the media should be "Listen, Perez is our closer. And we have an awesome setup guy in Vinnie, that we may let finish a couple games if he's throwing very well. And vice versa. If Perez is throwing it really well, we may go get him in the 8th inning in some spots." If Perez can't handle that mentally, well, then I don't think his long term chances of being an elite closer are very good.

I'm just a big believer in managing pitchers off feel and the eye test, and not what advanced statistics or some sort of system where you go to a new reliever says. Was a big part of the reason I hated Wedge so much here. He had no feel. Constantly hung starters out to dry and was the king of the by the book pitching change that didn't work.

Manny manages the pitching staff with much more feel than Wedge. But he is a guy that worries about the "fragile psyche" thing also. He'll make moves that are not the 100% best move to win that game, but moves that may put players in better spots (in his mind) to be better players in the future. I like Acta, a lot, but I am a believer in the whole "manage every game like its the 7th game of the World Series" thing.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby aclayman » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:51 pm

Acta has the same approach with his hitters (re: fragile psyche). He is the least likely to pinch hit for a guy than any manager we've had in recent memory. Even if it makes total sense from a match-up standpoint to let Jose Lopez take a few cuts for Kotchman against a lefty in the 8th, doesn't seem to happen very often. Same thing most of last year.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:00 pm

I'm tellin' ya, you can damn near prop up anyone alive or dead against the dugout wall to manage an AL team.

Christ, everything is so by "the formula" that you can take a team and predict 95% of their moves - and easily.

Pass out the attaboys and don't get caught picking your nose or sleeping on camera, and you're manager of the year if the players produce.

Which, by the way, makes the Red Sox hiring a total douche like Valentine all the more assinine. Don't get a jack-off. Pretty much the only rule they needed to follow, and they bring in that clown, and now it's a trainwreck.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby pup » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:37 pm

To be fair and honest I have not read it but I will.

My early point of contention is this, you do not know if any situation in the present is the highest leverage situation you will come up against.

So if you have them loaded in the 6th with 2 outs, you bring in your best guy to get out of it. Cool.

What happens when they are loaded in the 9th? You are down to your 4th best guy?
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby 7foot3 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:55 am

pup wrote:To be fair and honest I have not read it but I will.

My early point of contention is this, you do not know if any situation in the present is the highest leverage situation you will come up against.

So if you have them loaded in the 6th with 2 outs, you bring in your best guy to get out of it. Cool.

What happens when they are loaded in the 9th? You are down to your 4th best guy?



So you bring in the 4th best guy to face the bases loaded situation in the 6th? Either way you're asking him to get a huge, probably game-deciding, out. At least you know the 6th is a high-leverage situation. If you don't get out of it, you're probably using your mop up guy in the 9th.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby pup » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:19 am

7foot3 wrote:
pup wrote:To be fair and honest I have not read it but I will.

My early point of contention is this, you do not know if any situation in the present is the highest leverage situation you will come up against.

So if you have them loaded in the 6th with 2 outs, you bring in your best guy to get out of it. Cool.

What happens when they are loaded in the 9th? You are down to your 4th best guy?



So you bring in the 4th best guy to face the bases loaded situation in the 6th? Either way you're asking him to get a huge, probably game-deciding, out. At least you know the 6th is a high-leverage situation. If you don't get out of it, you're probably using your mop up guy in the 9th.


Except for 2 things, sure.

1. It is easier to get an out in the 6th with your 4th best guy than it is in the 9th.
2. If you falter in the 6th, you have 3 innings to rebound. In the 9th you put your head down and go home and hope it doesn't carry over.

Nobody has had a hard time recovering from a loss they gave up 4 in the 6th. Give up 4 in the 9th and it lingers.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby paulcousineau » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:00 am

Through all of this talk about very specific scenarios, it is worth noting that Verducci asserts that "the modern specialized bullpen does no better job protecting leads than the pitching usage that preceded it", which I fear is the forest that we're missing for the trees with the casualties being that relievers either continue to get hurt or are sporadically effective. In the context of THIS bullpen - where the Indians need these guys to stay healthy so we're not scrap-heaping every year - that's the question of whether the Indians could/should turn this "Book" of bullpen management on its head if it really isn't all that much more effective than what was done in the 60s or 70s.

Like most, I'm used to the way that EVERY manager manages a bullpen, but if the "Book" hasn't really improved the way that leads are protected or games are "closed" out, maybe it's time to change the way that bullpens are utilized, with this bullpen being the test case.

Does that mean Pestano or goes 2 innnings to close out a game, the way that Sutter and Gossage did back in the day?

I don't know and it would seem alien to to me as my point of reference is fairly limited because the "match-up" game is the only one I've known - from LaRussa to Hargrove to...well, anybody. But if the Indians need to protect these arms (and they do) while protecting leads (again, kind of important), this early usage of the bullpen (3 more IP yesterday due to Masterson) may cause them to adjust some things and maybe the adjustment isn't just burning through young, talented arms that they're going to need for the next few years.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby Am I Here Again? » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:56 pm

Bullpens weren't used as much back in the days before pitch counts either, IIRC. Sudden Sam threw more than two hundred pitches in more than one game. Even further back than that, in the 40s, didn't they on occasion have a guy throw the front game of a double header, then bring him out to finish a game? Thought Bob Gibson had done that but I wasn't around for those games. ;-) ;) :wink: The game has changed over the years; sometimes I wonder if the new trends are better or worse not only for the game but for the players.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby 7foot3 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:45 pm

pup wrote:
7foot3 wrote:
pup wrote:To be fair and honest I have not read it but I will.

My early point of contention is this, you do not know if any situation in the present is the highest leverage situation you will come up against.

So if you have them loaded in the 6th with 2 outs, you bring in your best guy to get out of it. Cool.

What happens when they are loaded in the 9th? You are down to your 4th best guy?



So you bring in the 4th best guy to face the bases loaded situation in the 6th? Either way you're asking him to get a huge, probably game-deciding, out. At least you know the 6th is a high-leverage situation. If you don't get out of it, you're probably using your mop up guy in the 9th.


Except for 2 things, sure.

1. It is easier to get an out in the 6th with your 4th best guy than it is in the 9th.
2. If you falter in the 6th, you have 3 innings to rebound. In the 9th you put your head down and go home and hope it doesn't carry over.

Nobody has had a hard time recovering from a loss they gave up 4 in the 6th. Give up 4 in the 9th and it lingers.



I'm still not accepting 1 just because you say so. What if you're facing Miguel Cabrera in the 6th and Ramon Santiago in the 9th? There's more variables to this situation.

Yeah, you might be able to rebound. Or you might have just blown a lead without letting your 3 best relievers touch the ball. You have to give your best players the chance to win the game for you.

And if ballplayers are that mentally weak, I don't see how they survived all those years it takes to prepare to be a pro ballplayer and get through 162 games.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby pup » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:21 pm

7foot3 wrote:
pup wrote:
7foot3 wrote:
pup wrote:To be fair and honest I have not read it but I will.

My early point of contention is this, you do not know if any situation in the present is the highest leverage situation you will come up against.

So if you have them loaded in the 6th with 2 outs, you bring in your best guy to get out of it. Cool.

What happens when they are loaded in the 9th? You are down to your 4th best guy?



So you bring in the 4th best guy to face the bases loaded situation in the 6th? Either way you're asking him to get a huge, probably game-deciding, out. At least you know the 6th is a high-leverage situation. If you don't get out of it, you're probably using your mop up guy in the 9th.


Except for 2 things, sure.

1. It is easier to get an out in the 6th with your 4th best guy than it is in the 9th.
2. If you falter in the 6th, you have 3 innings to rebound. In the 9th you put your head down and go home and hope it doesn't carry over.

Nobody has had a hard time recovering from a loss they gave up 4 in the 6th. Give up 4 in the 9th and it lingers.



I'm still not accepting 1 just because you say so. What if you're facing Miguel Cabrera in the 6th and Ramon Santiago in the 9th? There's more variables to this situation.

Yeah, you might be able to rebound. Or you might have just blown a lead without letting your 3 best relievers touch the ball. You have to give your best players the chance to win the game for you.

And if ballplayers are that mentally weak, I don't see how they survived all those years it takes to prepare to be a pro ballplayer and get through 162 games.


Christ dude. It is a baseball game where you can trot out 1,000 different scenarios. In fact, there are so many scenarios, the only way to handle them is to have a set structure and go with it. Or else you are going to drive yourself crazy trying to imagine what may happen later.

Congratulations. Yes, it will always be harder to get Miggy out than Ramon Santiago. Depending on the point of the season we are in, I might consider using my 8th inning guy to go get Miggy in the 6th thinking I can use the rest of the pen to negotiate 7 and 8 before having my closer for the 9th if need be.

You ever met a ball player? I don't know that mentally weak is the term I would use. But creatures of habit and momentous are terms that fit. Blowing games in the 9th inning is devastating. You make a habit of doing it and your season is going to snowball in a heartbeat.
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Re: Paulie C's Bullpen Revolution

Unread postby Am I Here Again? » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:38 pm

pup wrote:....Blowing games in the 9th inning is devastating. You make a habit of doing it and your season is going to snowball in a heartbeat.

Fauserto Hernandma. 2006. 'Nuf said. ;-) ;) :wink: He did go on to have a stellar year in 2007 but he's not had a good year since.
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