Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

BaseballJones

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Gausman vs Cashner

2017-2019
Gausman: 4.64 era, 1.42 whip
Cashner: 4.35 era, 1.41 whip

2019
Gausman: 6.19 era, 1.49 whip
Cashner: 4.44 era, 1.30 whip

Hard to make the case that Gausman is better than Cashner.
 

BaseballJones

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Cashner with Sox: 6.94 era, 1.757 whip

Small sample size, but he's been god-awful.
Yes but that's truly the definition of SSS. Just 23.1 innings. And actually, in two of the four starts he's made for the Sox, you'd almost certainly be happy with these from your 5th starter:

July 21: 6.0 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 7 k
July 26: 6.2 ip, 10 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 6 k (against the Yankees, no less)

So two starts you'd take from the 5th starter, and two disasters. Ehhhh...typical 5th starter stuff.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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We don't have any money because of the cap. Otherwise we could do stuff like this:


Is Gausman better than Cashner? SSS, but a better question is if Cashner is better than Ryan Weber or Josh Smith. I'm not sure.
No, no we couldn't. Reds have waiver claim priority over the Sox
 

RedOctober3829

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Looking ahead to next year, here are the better relievers that I found that will be free agents. Chapman and Jansen can opt out, but can't imagine they will and if they do it's to re-sign with their current teams for more years. Not exactly a great list.

Dellin Betances
Will Smith
Brandon Kintzler
Tony Watson
Steve Cishek
Daniel Hudson
Sergio Romo
Greg Holland
 

mfried

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Looking ahead to next year, here are the better relievers that I found that will be free agents. Chapman and Jansen can opt out, but can't imagine they will and if they do it's to re-sign with their current teams for more years. Not exactly a great list.

Dellin Betances
Will Smith
Brandon Kintzler
Tony Watson
Steve Cishek
Daniel Hudson
Sergio Romo
Greg Holland
I would go for both Smith and Hudson.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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We don't have any money because of the cap. Otherwise we could do stuff like this:


Is Gausman better than Cashner? SSS, but a better question is if Cashner is better than Ryan Weber or Josh Smith. I'm not sure.
The Reds have waiver priority over the Red Sox so it's not like they had a chance at Gausman regardless of their cap situation.
 

chawson

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Gausman vs Cashner

2017-2019
Gausman: 4.64 era, 1.42 whip
Cashner: 4.35 era, 1.41 whip

2019
Gausman: 6.19 era, 1.49 whip
Cashner: 4.44 era, 1.30 whip

Hard to make the case that Gausman is better than Cashner.
I don’t think ERA and WHIP suffice here. Gausman has a superior FIP, K rate, and swinging strike rate, and he’s added a splitter that’s one of the better ones in baseball. Most importantly, he’s nearly five years younger than Cashner.

There may be something up with Gausman, as he’s phased out his slider and sinker this year and pretty much only throws a fastball/splitter combo, which is not gonna cut it for a starter. He’s a project, but projects are exactly what this garbage time (if that’s what we’re headed for) is for.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Bumping this.... maybe this would be better for a new thread.... but I'm wondering if the Sox actually have the bullpen pieces already in place for 2020? I don't have time this morning to get into each member of the pen... but it seems like over the past month, the BP arms are really finding a groove and have been great. Brasier looks like he's figured out what was ailing him... Barnes has seemingly overcame his stretch of crap slinging... Hernandez looks to be a major cog going forward. Workman might have the best curve in baseball..... I dunno. Whenever I get a chance to look at the box scores I've been impressed. Whenever I get a brief moment to catch a bit of a game, the bullpen is looking dominant.
 

RIrooter09

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The bullpen is 4th in fWAR and is far from the problem. As mentioned the rotation was the biggest disappointment relative to expectations.
 

AB in DC

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Basically we needed another two good arms at the beginning of the year, and finally found them in Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez. Those two plus Workman/Barnes/Walden have the makings of a pretty good bullpen if they can keep it up.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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If the starters most of the pitchers on the staff weren't complete and utter trash in 2019 I think the bullpen had plenty to get it done.
FTFY

The starters have been awful and are probably the biggest goats for the entire season, but the bullpen had a really rough stretch for a few weeks that led to more than a few blown chances at wins. There have been bright spots (EdRo, Workman, Taylor, Price (mostly), Hernández ,and blips from others) but a lot of the bad has persisted throughout the season (Sale, Porcello, Brewer, Barnes, Thornburg, Brazier, and several others who had cups of coffee that they spilled on themselves), and the one in-season acquisition (Cashner) was a disaster as a starter but has shown some good things in the bullpen, but is still pretty much a dud to this point. I know there's a cause-and-effect relationship but some onus has to go on the bullpen arms for giving up leads in a lot of winnable games. Even the offense deserves a little bit more blame than people are allotting; they had several games where they would blow multiple scoring chances and strand small villages on the bases, including in extras where the first guy would reach, possibly even get extra bases, and not move at all before the inning ended. They are clicking on virtually all cylinders now but there were a couple stretches where they could not buy a timely hit with RISP. At the end of the season, the pitching staff, as a whole, is going to wind up wearing the horns, not just one specific portion of it.
 

Rovin Romine

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The starters have been awful and are probably the biggest goats for the entire season, but the bullpen had a really rough stretch for a few weeks that led to more than a few blown chances at wins. . . .At the end of the season, the pitching staff, as a whole, is going to wind up wearing the horns, not just one specific portion of it.
Last year (whole year) our starters had a 3.77 ERA. (8th). This year (to date) they are 5.02. (21st).

-the #5 slot is significantly worse (2ish runs, just eyeballing the most frequent #5 starters)
-Sale is 2 runs and a quarter worse.
-Porcello is run and a quarter worse.

-Price is 1/3rd of a run worse

-E-rod has been the same.

Even though that's not really a rigorous inquiry, there's such a big skew in the numbers that I'm tempted to say that's the 2018 to 2019 story, right there.

PS - which is not to say you're not right, in that there's blame to go around. But from where I'm sitting, it looks like the starting pitching gets the lion's share.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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FTFY

The starters have been awful and are probably the biggest goats for the entire season, but the bullpen had a really rough stretch for a few weeks that led to more than a few blown chances at wins. There have been bright spots (EdRo, Workman, Taylor, Price (mostly), Hernández ,and blips from others) but a lot of the bad has persisted throughout the season (Sale, Porcello, Brewer, Barnes, Thornburg, Brazier, and several others who had cups of coffee that they spilled on themselves), and the one in-season acquisition (Cashner) was a disaster as a starter but has shown some good things in the bullpen, but is still pretty much a dud to this point. I know there's a cause-and-effect relationship but some onus has to go on the bullpen arms for giving up leads in a lot of winnable games. Even the offense deserves a little bit more blame than people are allotting; they had several games where they would blow multiple scoring chances and strand small villages on the bases, including in extras where the first guy would reach, possibly even get extra bases, and not move at all before the inning ended. They are clicking on virtually all cylinders now but there were a couple stretches where they could not buy a timely hit with RISP. At the end of the season, the pitching staff, as a whole, is going to wind up wearing the horns, not just one specific portion of it.
At this point I'd still be working out Cashner as a starter. He's been a decent career starter and despite his horrendous stretch when he came here... he should be getting some consideration as a relatively low cost innings eating starter for next season as a "no.5" taking Porcello's spot rather than as a seriously overpriced bullpen arm.
Other than that.... I think the pen is set for 2020 and hope DD doesn't actually spend anything other than arb raises on it.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Last year (whole year) our starters had a 3.77 ERA. (8th). This year (to date) they are 5.02. (21st).

-the #5 slot is significantly worse (2ish runs, just eyeballing the most frequent #5 starters)
-Sale is 2 runs and a quarter worse.
-Porcello is run and a quarter worse.

-Price is 1/3rd of a run worse

-E-rod has been the same.

Even though that's not really a rigorous inquiry, there's such a big skew in the numbers that I'm tempted to say that's the 2018 to 2019 story, right there.

PS - which is not to say you're not right, in that there's blame to go around. But from where I'm sitting, it looks like the starting pitching gets the lion's share.
Is it fair to grade them on the same scale considering the 5th starter spot has been a revolving door this season but was pretty stable last season?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Is it fair to grade them on the same scale considering the 5th starter spot has been a revolving door this season but was pretty stable last season?
Was it really all that stable last year? Is "5th starter" really that definable unless you have five healthy starters from Opening Day through game 162?

Last year, they had four starters that made 20+ starts (Porcello 33, Price 30, Sale 27, ERod 23) and then three guys make 10+ starts (Johnson 13, Eovaldi 11, Pomeranz 11), then the "rest" (Velazquez 8, Wright 4, Beeks 1, Cuevas 1). Which guy qualifies as the "stable" 5th starter?

This year, they've had four starters make 20+ (Erod 27, Porcello 26, Sale 25, Price 21) and no one else make more than eight (Velazquez 8, Johnson 7, Eovaldi 6, Cashner 6, Weber 3, Smith 2, Hernandez 1). Revolving door for sure, but not that much different from last year. If nothing else changes, Johnson and Eovaldi are likely to hit double digits in starts and in the end, the two lists won't look that dissimilar at all.
 

joe dokes

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Last year (whole year) our starters had a 3.77 ERA. (8th). This year (to date) they are 5.02. (21st).

-the #5 slot is significantly worse (2ish runs, just eyeballing the most frequent #5 starters)
-Sale is 2 runs and a quarter worse.
-Porcello is run and a quarter worse.

-Price is 1/3rd of a run worse

-E-rod has been the same.

Even though that's not really a rigorous inquiry, there's such a big skew in the numbers that I'm tempted to say that's the 2018 to 2019 story, right there.

PS - which is not to say you're not right, in that there's blame to go around. But from where I'm sitting, it looks like the starting pitching gets the lion's share.
I think you also have to add in the ineffectiveness of Velazquez and Johnson (as compared to last year), who started 21 games last year and were at least competent most of the time. I, too think that the starting pitching is the story. The bullpen came around. The starters didn't.
 

chawson

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At this point I'd still be working out Cashner as a starter. He's been a decent career starter and despite his horrendous stretch when he came here... he should be getting some consideration as a relatively low cost innings eating starter for next season as a "no.5" taking Porcello's spot rather than as a seriously overpriced bullpen arm.
Other than that.... I think the pen is set for 2020 and hope DD doesn't actually spend anything other than arb raises on it.
There are 139 major league starters who threw at least 250 innings over the last three years, and Cashner ranks 136th among them. He’s going to be 33 and has absolutely no upside. He’s not worth $10 million.
 

Rovin Romine

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I think you also have to add in the ineffectiveness of Velazquez and Johnson (as compared to last year), who started 21 games last year and were at least competent most of the time. I, too think that the starting pitching is the story. The bullpen came around. The starters didn't.
They'd be in the #5 starter slot I listed. I'm sure someone can run all the numbers, and will, post season.

One interesting bullpen stat - they're worst in the majors in terms of converting save opportunities into saves per B-ref. Seems like there could be a few wrinkles in that. One of which would be the strain on the bullpen from shorter starts (I have no idea if it's better or worse than last year, YTD.)

PS - if we had the 2018 Sale, we'd surely be in the WC scrum right now, instead of 5 back in the WC with 30 games to go.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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There are 139 major league starters who threw at least 250 innings over the last three years, and Cashner ranks 136th among them. He’s going to be 33 and has absolutely no upside. He’s not worth $10 million.
Why would he cost $10M to bring back? His option for next year is not going to trigger. If they bring him back, they could conceivably do it for far less than $10M.
 

joe dokes

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They'd be in the #5 starter slot I listed. I'm sure someone can run all the numbers, and will, post season.

One interesting bullpen stat - they're worst in the majors in terms of converting save opportunities into saves per B-ref. Seems like there could be a few wrinkles in that. One of which would be the strain on the bullpen from shorter starts (I have no idea if it's better or worse than last year, YTD.)

PS - if we had the 2018 Sale, we'd surely be in the WC scrum right now, instead of 5 back in the WC with 30 games to go.
The key there is "save opportunities" as a factor. As long as entering the game ahead 3-2 in the 6th with bases loaded and none out and getting a 6-4-3 (game-tying) DP and a strikeout counts as a blown save, the "blown save" is close to meaningless. That appearance makes that guy 0-1 in sv opps., which is nuts, IMO, in two ways. First, it was a good performance. Second, he didn't have a save opportunity. Coming into the game in the 6th or 7th and often the 8th can only add to the denominator (save opps) but rarely the numerator (saves). Its like only counting ABs and outs in innings 1-5, but not hits.

What might be a better indicator is where they rank in terms of "how many times with leads of 1-3 runs after innings 6, 7 & 8 did the team lose" or something like that. (beyond my skills to compile *and* compare).

Whatever these numbers show, *no* bullpen was going to create a team 5-10 wins better with this group of starters pitching the way it did.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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There are 139 major league starters who threw at least 250 innings over the last three years, and Cashner ranks 136th among them. He’s going to be 33 and has absolutely no upside. He’s not worth $10 million.
Well he is a guy that has averaged 28 starts per year and seems to have an odd year/even year Porcello like consistency. He's an innings eater that can likely give you 6 innings. I'm not sure who else is available as a 5th starter out there that would look better, considering his ability to just pitch innings. Our in house options aren't better (and yeah, $10M per is too much, but who would take say around $5M for a single season?). We've got Price, Sale (gulp...), Edro, Eovaldi (errrrr.....) in the rotation for '20. Someone out there will offer Porcello a 3 year deal at around $30M given that he's insanely durable and has the potential to be very good (even year). I don't see the Sox offering anything to him, not even a qualifying offer. I don't know where that 5th starter is coming from and it'd sure be nice if they could get someone that'd just bump everyone down on the expected starter role number, but I don't see them tossing $30M at Cole (he's going to be 29) and I don't see them with the ability to make a trade like they did for Rodriguez years back (cost controlled young starter).
Anyhow... back to the point.... I don't see Cashner as a viable BP arm but a guy that could potentially salvage something this year to move forward with as a back end innings eater with the potential to be at least above average. The frightening idea is that injuries would turn him into our "no. 3" behind Rodriguez and Price.
 

Plympton91

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Is it fair to grade them on the same scale considering the 5th starter spot has been a revolving door this season but was pretty stable last season?
Part of the reason the 5th starter has been a revolving door has been by choice. Cora switches them out like they’re interchangeable parts on an assembly line. One bad start and you’re gone, looking for the next victim. With no consistency and constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for the axe to fall is no way to develop success.
 

bosox79

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Part of the reason the 5th starter has been a revolving door has been by choice. Cora switches them out like they’re interchangeable parts on an assembly line. One bad start and you’re gone, looking for the next victim. With no consistency and constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for the axe to fall is no way to develop success.
The problem is they are just interchangeable parts and not very good ones. They are consistently bad.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Last year (whole year) our starters had a 3.77 ERA. (8th). This year (to date) they are 5.02. (21st).

-the #5 slot is significantly worse (2ish runs, just eyeballing the most frequent #5 starters)
-Sale is 2 runs and a quarter worse.
-Porcello is run and a quarter worse.

-Price is 1/3rd of a run worse

-E-rod has been the same.

Even though that's not really a rigorous inquiry, there's such a big skew in the numbers that I'm tempted to say that's the 2018 to 2019 story, right there.

PS - which is not to say you're not right, in that there's blame to go around. But from where I'm sitting, it looks like the starting pitching gets the lion's share.
Did you have a chance to look up a comparison of inherited runners scoring from both seasons? I would, but won't have time today.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Did you have a chance to look up a comparison of inherited runners scoring from both seasons? I would, but won't have time today.
From BBref, Bequeathed Runners/Bequeathed Runners Scored, 2018 and 2019:

Sale: 6/2, 7/2
Porcello: 17/5, 13/5
Price: 12/8, 8/1
Rodriguez: 18/4, 21/4

So with the exception of Porcello, the bullpen has actually been more supportive of the starters this year as far as rate of inherited runners scoring. The starters have done their damage on their own.
 

absintheofmalaise

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From BBref, Bequeathed Runners/Bequeathed Runners Scored, 2018 and 2019:

Sale: 6/2, 7/2
Porcello: 17/5, 13/5
Price: 12/8, 8/1
Rodriguez: 18/4, 21/4

So with the exception of Porcello, the bullpen has actually been more supportive of the starters this year as far as rate of inherited runners scoring. The starters have done their damage on their own.
Thanks for digging that out.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Oh whoops, sorry. In FIP. Cashner ranks 136/139 in FIP from 2017-19.

I don’t know, staffing Cashner for the back of the rotation in anything other than an emergency seems like something the Orioles would do.
Cashner has been a disaster as a starter but has been okay in the bullpen. Do you commit $10 million to him as a bullpen arm or cut him loose and hope for something better at a lower cost? Seems like he'd be a great mop-up guy if nothing else, though I'm not sure that's worth $10 million. At least he's been durable, so far.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Cashner has been a disaster as a starter but has been okay in the bullpen. Do you commit $10 million to him as a bullpen arm or cut him loose and hope for something better at a lower cost? Seems like he'd be a great mop-up guy if nothing else, though I'm not sure that's worth $10 million. At least he's been durable, so far.
In no world is a mop up guy worth $10 million. However, as RHF said above, he'd be very unlikely to cost that much. Even so, he seems to be the ultimate in fungible.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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That's a fair point. If he settles into the 'pen as a solid contributor over the next month, he might be able to cut down on how much money he is set to not make on his next deal.
 

Plympton91

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Oh whoops, sorry. In FIP. Cashner ranks 136/139 in FIP from 2017-19.

I don’t know, staffing Cashner for the back of the rotation in anything other than an emergency seems like something the Orioles would do.
Especially the Orioles under Dan Duquette.

No way Cashner or Porcello gets more than Pomeranz did last offseason.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Especially the Orioles under Dan Duquette.

No way Cashner or Porcello gets more than Pomeranz did last offseason.
I agree.... that said.... who else is available out there? The Sox have nothing that looks better as a no. 5 next year unless DD wants to count on Wright.... Johnson...Valazquez.....uh......
2017 Cashner had a decent season, and he was having a decent season up until he joined the Sox and Cora instructed him to not throw at the strike zone as a starter (snark). I'd rather be giving him shots right now as a starter to see if there's anything that can be salvaged there... he doesn't get injured.... which is something. Only Porcello can claim that asset. I just don't see the Sox signing another top notch starter next offseason, and I don't see how a trade could work to bring in a cost controlled starter. They have 4 guys set for the rotation next year... 2 of which look to be likely injured by mid season if not sooner... another two that have also not exactly been examples of good health.
At least the bullpen looks like it doesn't need any tinkering....
 

bosox79

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Walden's been mostly effective his last 24 games but looks like a disaster waiting to happen.
Last 24: 3.04 era, 23.2 ip, 11bb/15k, .930 WHIP. .141/.261/.244 against. .159 BAbip. 16.3% K%, 12.0% BB%. StL% 13% StS% 11%. 1.37 GB:FB ratio.
First 33: 2.66 era, 44.0 ip, 11bb/50k, 1.023 WHIP, .209/.267/.356 against, .269 BAbip. 28.2% K%, 6.2% BB%, StL% 15%, StS% 15%. 1.19 GB:FB ratio

Brasier before demotion: 44 games, 4.46 era, 40.1 ip, 12bb/36k, 1.214 WHIP, .242/.300/.431 against, .265 BAbip. 21.2% K%, 7.1% BB%, 13% StL%, 14% StS%
Since (AAA+MLB): 17 games, 1.10 era, 16.1 ip, 6bb/25k, .857 WHIP, .143/.262/.196 against, .233 BAbip. 38.5% K%, 9.2% BB%, 14% StL%, 17% StS%

SSS noise or something else?
 

brandonchristensen

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I actually wouldn’t mind a 3/30 offer for Porcello. I wonder if he would take that. Durability is super important and he’s got that in spades. He’s also finishing the year up strong.
 

donutogre

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I actually wouldn’t mind a 3/30 offer for Porcello. I wonder if he would take that. Durability is super important and he’s got that in spades. He’s also finishing the year up strong.
Man, I don't know. Even with a strong-ish August, his ERA is still well over 5. ERA+ for the last three seasons is only 97 and he probably won't come close to 200 innings this year either.

I definitely get the appeal of the durable innings-eater to anchor the back half of the rotation. If he could put up a few more seasons like last year, I'd be fine with it. But on the wrong side of 30 and after getting mauled this season, I don't know how he's gonna look 2-3 years from now.
 

brandonchristensen

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Man, I don't know. Even with a strong-ish August, his ERA is still well over 5. ERA+ for the last three seasons is only 97 and he probably won't come close to 200 innings this year either.

I definitely get the appeal of the durable innings-eater to anchor the back half of the rotation. If he could put up a few more seasons like last year, I'd be fine with it. But on the wrong side of 30 and after getting mauled this season, I don't know how he's gonna look 2-3 years from now.
It's been a weird year, though.

Sale looks toast half the time, too. This year, to me, feels like 'small sample size'. Getting close to 200 innings for $10m is a bargain on this team.
 

sean1562

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3/30 would be a huge overpay for Porcello. I would be surprised if he could get a 1/10 deal. I dont think this team needs to have Rick Porcello locked into our rotation for another 3 years at 10 mil per. Id rather take a risk on Cole Hamels or Zach Wheeler than Porcello. At least there is some upside in those plays.
 

Plympton91

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I actually wouldn’t mind a 3/30 offer for Porcello. I wonder if he would take that. Durability is super important and he’s got that in spades. He’s also finishing the year up strong.
Porcello will be lucky to get a major league contract. I’d compare him to the similarly durable Gio Gonzalez, who had a really lucky Cy Young caliber season in 2017, then a decent 2018, including a good September in a playoff run. Yet, he never found a team a 2019, until Spring training minor league deal with the Yankees. That type of offer to Porcello would be clinically insane.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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What do we think of brasier? Last year we just got lucky with him?
I'd say about 90% of good production out of relievers is getting lucky. Relievers are volatile...any of them can have a run of good outings then have a bad one, or vice versa. That's pretty much exactly what they've gotten from Brasier since he was recalled. Prior to last night, he had thrown 7 innings since his return and allowed 1 run (1.29 ERA) with 13 Ks and a 1.00 WHIP. Now in eight outings, he's at 7.2 innings, a 8.22 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, and 13 Ks. Is he that shitty a pitcher or did he have a bad night perhaps caused by fatigue after pitching the night before?

My guess is that he was left in despite clearly not having it because the entire pen was spent. It sucks but some times guys have to take a bullet even if it blows up their stat lines.
 

Plympton91

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I think you have to question Cora’s decision to take Johnson out of the game. He was cruising, you had a one-run cushion, the bullpen had been spent the night before, and you’ll be lucky to get more than 3 or 4 innings out of Price today.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think you have to question Cora’s decision to take Johnson out of the game. He was cruising, you had a one-run cushion, the bullpen had been spent the night before, and you’ll be lucky to get more than 3 or 4 innings out of Price today.
Johnson maybe could have pitched another inning. He was at 53 pitches and he hasn't topped 70 since he returned from the IL. But he also would have been facing the top of the order if he'd stayed in for one more, which was surely a factor in handing the game off to Barnes.

I don't know if I'd define the bullpen as spent just based on Friday. Obviously back to back days isn't ideal, but it isn't out of the ordinary and the team did have a day off on Thursday. Barnes threw 17 pitches on Friday, Brasier threw 20. It's not as though either should have been classified as unavailable. Only guys that were on that list were probably Hernandez and Cashner (maybe Workman though I suspect he'd have gotten the ball in the 9th with a lead).
 

nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
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I think you have to question Cora’s decision to take Johnson out of the game. He was cruising, you had a one-run cushion, the bullpen had been spent the night before, and you’ll be lucky to get more than 3 or 4 innings out of Price today.
I understand what you’re saying, but if Cora left Johnson in to face Trout again with a one run lead, I’m not sure many would have been happy.