Cora's Pen. This Time With Stats!

Ganthem

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Cora's inflexability last year was also a problem. It was apparent within the first few weeks the bullpen was a problem, but he decided to continue to baby his starters. If this was done due to a shorten spring training, it might have made some sense, but according to Cora he did this so the starters would be fresh for September. That worked out great.
 

sezwho

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Cora's inflexability last year was also a problem. It was apparent within the first few weeks the bullpen was a problem, but he decided to continue to baby his starters. If this was done due to a shorten spring training, it might have made some sense, but according to Cora he did this so the starters would be fresh for September. That worked out great.
So he should have bled them out early because he knew they’d be injured late anyway? The idea that Cora just missed out on properly deploying relievers in some way obvious to us message boarders seems…improbable.
 

Ganthem

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So he should have bled them out early because he knew they’d be injured late anyway? The idea that Cora just missed out on properly deploying relievers in some way obvious to us message boarders seems…improbable.
He should have realized there was a problem and let his starters go beyond 50 pitches. I am not sure why that is such a radical idea.
 

Ganthem

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"few weeks" and "baby the starters" aren't really carrying the weight you are assigning to them.
Pivetta made his 1st 6-inning start on May 6.(81/54/96/98) (not really babied before that. He just wasn't very good).
Eovaldi pitched 7 innings in his 4th start April 25 (76/101/95/72/95
Hill was never going to go deep very often.
Wacha pitched 6 innings in his 4th start. (72/79/82/92)
Maybe my recollection is off, but I seem to recall a bunch of times he pulled a starter and went with the pen which ended in disaster
 

Van Everyman

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He should have realized there was a problem and let his starters go beyond 50 pitches. I am not sure why that is such a radical idea.
Because Spring Training had been cut short and the starters weren't stretched out yet. This was discussed a gazillion times on the board.

You aren't the only one complaining about it, so please understand this isn't directed just at you. But the "Cora mismanaged the bullpen" stuff is grating because there are few jobs more challenging when starters underperform or get injured, both of which happened last season.
 

joe dokes

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Maybe my recollection is off, but I seem to recall a bunch of times he pulled a starter and went with the pen which ended in disaster
Tbh, my memory was close to yours (even if we draw different conclusions). I was a little surprised at the pitch counts.
 

Ganthem

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Because Spring Training had been cut short and the starters weren't stretched out yet. This was discussed a gazillion times on the board.

You aren't the only one complaining about it, so please understand this isn't directed just at you. But the "Cora mismanaged the bullpen" stuff is grating because there are few jobs more challenging when starters underperform or get injured, both of which happened last season.
Except Cora said it was done to keep the startera fresh in September
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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"few weeks" and "baby the starters" aren't really carrying the weight you are assigning to them.
Pivetta made his 1st 6-inning start on May 6.(81/54/96/98) (not really babied before that. He just wasn't very good).
Eovaldi pitched 7 innings in his 4th start April 25 (76/101/95/72/95
Hill was never going to go deep very often.
Wacha pitched 6 innings in his 4th start. (72/79/82/92)
Using May 6 since you mention it with regard to Pivetta, the Red Sox were 21st out of 30 in average pitches per start through that date (76.8). The Brewers led the league at that point with 91.5. Just comparing to the AL East, the Jays were the division leader at 79.4, followed by the Yankees at 78.2, then the Sox, then the O's at 71.2, and the Rays at 63.1.

The idea that it was the Sox philosophy about "babying" their starters isn't borne out by the facts that they were right in line with most of the rest of the league in slow rolling their pitchers in April. They had one of the worst records during the first month of the season primarily because they had one of the worst scoring offenses in MLB, not because they mis-managed their pitching.
 

Ganthem

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Using May 6 since you mention it with regard to Pivetta, the Red Sox were 21st out of 30 in average pitches per start through that date (76.8). The Brewers led the league at that point with 91.5. Just comparing to the AL East, the Jays were the division leader at 79.4, followed by the Yankees at 78.2, then the Sox, then the O's at 71.2, and the Rays at 63.1.

The idea that it was the Sox philosophy about "babying" their starters isn't borne out by the facts that they were right in line with most of the rest of the league in slow rolling their pitchers in April. They had one of the worst records during the first month of the season primarily because they had one of the worst scoring offenses in MLB, not because they mis-managed their pitching.
Once again I am going off my recollection here. I am not arguing that the offense held some of the blame. In fact the whole reason I predicted the Sox were not going to make the playoffs after the first month is because there offense resembled the hot and cold offense of the previous year. I didn't think the June they had was possible. That being said, babying the pitchers and continuing to depend on a shaky bullpen definitely compounded the problems.
 

pjr

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I have a thought why don't those debating Cora's bullpen usage,start a dedicated thread on that subject. So the rumors thread can stay just rumors. Thanks
 

Max Power

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Using May 6 since you mention it with regard to Pivetta, the Red Sox were 21st out of 30 in average pitches per start through that date (76.8). The Brewers led the league at that point with 91.5. Just comparing to the AL East, the Jays were the division leader at 79.4, followed by the Yankees at 78.2, then the Sox, then the O's at 71.2, and the Rays at 63.1.

The idea that it was the Sox philosophy about "babying" their starters isn't borne out by the facts that they were right in line with most of the rest of the league in slow rolling their pitchers in April. They had one of the worst records during the first month of the season primarily because they had one of the worst scoring offenses in MLB, not because they mis-managed their pitching.
Yeah, but Ganthem's memory says different, so we're just going to have to agree to disagree.
 

Ganthem

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Yeah, but Ganthem's memory says different, so we're just going to have to agree to disagree.
I guess your memory is not as good as mine. If you look back to the first month of the season, the starters were routinely pulled around fifty pitches or so. Further sezwho recalls the same thing. We are just disagreeing on the alternatives. Hope this helps.
 

Jimbodandy

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I guess your memory is not as good as mine. If you look back to the first month of the season, the starters were routinely pulled around fifty pitches or so. Further sezwho recalls the same thing. We are just disagreeing on the alternatives. Hope this helps.
Pretty sure that was the case (quicker hooks than usual) basically everywhere, given the abbreviated offseason. If you have numbers that say that the Sox were big offenders compared with their peers, I'd be all ears.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I guess your memory is not as good as mine. If you look back to the first month of the season, the starters were routinely pulled around fifty pitches or so. Further sezwho recalls the same thing. We are just disagreeing on the alternatives. Hope this helps.
Routinely pulled around fifty pitches yet somehow average 76 pitches per start in the first month of the season. Your memory sucks.
 

changer591

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I just went through all of the box scores for the first month of the season. There were 2 instances where a starter got pulled less than 60 pitches. One was Pivetta and one was Whitlock, who was a reliever being converted into a starter at the time. That does seem "routine" or "a bunch" to me.
 

Ganthem

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Pretty sure that was the case (quicker hooks than usual) basically everywhere, given the abbreviated offseason. If you have numbers that say that the Sox were big offenders compared with their peers, I'd be all ears.
My point isn't that the Sox were big offenders. My point is that Cora should have stretched the starters out sooner in order to avoid depending on the bullpen.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I don't think that Cora is terrible, but I also don't think he's necessarily good at BP management but my issue isn't with the early season workload on the starters. Short Spring Training combined with shitty starting performances. After the first month the leash was clearly off when pitchers were pitching well.... the issue was that they either weren't... or were injured and replaced by 3 guys who really were up far earlier than they should have been- however, IMO, all pitched better than should have been reasonably expected.
Coming into '23 my expectations for Bello, Crawford, Winchy, Seabold, etc... are much more different.
This being a BP thread, it's really hard to separate a starter's performance from bullpen usage and management... so just to be clear, again... while I don't think Cora is terrible, I don't think he's bad. The only thing I really find him making questionable decisions is usually around the 7th, 8th inning... and that's a tough area. Sometimes your best pitcher (non-closer) isn't available and I get that. But man... when Brasier keeps getting put in over and over in a tough situation and shows he doesn't have it... start using him in low leverage again. Give ANYONE else a chance. When it's clear that Sawamura is really only good when he starts an inning, and terrible at allowing inherited runners to advance and score... stop bringing him in when there's inherited runners on base! Cora I think suffers from Timlin/Embree to Foulke syndrome and won't deter from whom he places into his roles.
 

Ganthem

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In the first month of the season, there were only three times that the starters went six innings or more. Two were by Evoldi and one was by Wacha. I feel this was a mistake given how the bullpen was performing. Though I can understand Cora's caution due to the shorten spring training, but the fact he did it to keep the starters fresh for September seems a little silly.
 

absintheofmalaise

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In the first month of the season, there were only three times that the starters went six innings or more. Two were by Evoldi and one was by Wacha. I feel this was a mistake given how the bullpen was performing. Though I can understand Cora's caution due to the shorten spring training, but the fact he did it to keep the starters fresh for September seems a little silly.
What were the game situations when those starters were pulled?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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In the first month of the season, there were only three times that the starters went six innings or more. Two were by Evoldi and one was by Wacha. I feel this was a mistake given how the bullpen was performing. Though I can understand Cora's caution due to the shorten spring training, but the fact he did it to keep the starters fresh for September seems a little silly.
Could we get a citation for the bolded, because while I do recall that being the reasoning given in past seasons, I don't remember that being the case in 2022.
 

Max Power

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In April the Red Sox starters had a 3.40 ERA and the bullpen was 3.23. The issue in April was the lack of hitting, not bullpen management. But Ganthem remembers Cora routinely pulling Pedro after 50 pitches to put in Alfredo Aceves, so that's probably right.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Could we get a citation for the bolded, because while I do recall that being the reasoning given in past seasons, I don't remember that being the case in 2022.
this kind of gets at it.

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/red-sox/michael-wacha-gem-latest-example-old-school-attitude-thats-transforming-red-sox

"I know we get criticized sometimes with our pitching program early on in the season, taking care of pitchers and taking them out early," Cora told reporters, including Ian Browne of MLB.com. "Like we tell them, the reason we do that is to be ready when it really matters."
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Interesting article to prove that point. It’s from early June and it explains why Cora left Wacha in to get a complete game 1-0 win against the Angels.


Unless “when it really matters “ is early June
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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this kind of gets at it.

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/red-sox/michael-wacha-gem-latest-example-old-school-attitude-thats-transforming-red-sox

"I know we get criticized sometimes with our pitching program early on in the season, taking care of pitchers and taking them out early," Cora told reporters, including Ian Browne of MLB.com. "Like we tell them, the reason we do that is to be ready when it really matters."
Kinda, sorta, but not really. The quote seems to imply that "when it really matters" is a situation like the game at hand, where Wacha was cruising and allowed to finish off a complete game shut-out. And it took him 105 pitches, which isn't extraordinary in the context of a properly stretched out pitcher in the modern game. If there's an example of a pitcher "cruising" and getting pulled from an April start prematurely, I'd like to see it.
 

scottyno

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Cora's inflexability last year was also a problem. It was apparent within the first few weeks the bullpen was a problem, but he decided to continue to baby his starters. If this was done due to a shorten spring training, it might have made some sense, but according to Cora he did this so the starters would be fresh for September. That worked out great.
The Sox bullpen era was 3.23 in April, they were an above average bullpen until July. Not coincidentally they also had a massive innings bump in July having to throw 122 innings in 27 games.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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The Sox bullpen era was 3.23 in April, they were an above average bullpen until July. Not coincidentally they also had a massive innings bump in July having to throw 122 innings in 27 games.
In April the Red Sox starters had a 3.40 ERA and the bullpen was 3.23. The issue in April was the lack of hitting, not bullpen management. But Ganthem remembers Cora routinely pulling Pedro after 50 pitches to put in Alfredo Aceves, so that's probably right.
Crazy to think that with a half alive offense in April.... assuming that everything else played out the same through May... that they would have been a WC team at the end of July and things could have turned out much differently.
That said, with Sale and Eovaldi both going down any upgrades would likely not have been enough.
 

scottyno

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What was the league era in April, though?
The average bullpen era in April was 3.48 and the average team threw about 85 relief innings, the Sox threw 92. Those aren't perfect because I'm not sure how many games the Sox played relative to other teams, but it's fair to say they threw about the same amount if not more.

Overall for the 1st half the Sox had a bullpen era of 3.91 and league average was 3.86. In the 2nd half the Sox had a 5.56.

People forget Hansel Robles threw 9 and 2/3rds in April and gave up 1 run, he was really really good. Then in May he started to fall apart and in June he totally lost it.
 

Ganthem

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The average bullpen era in April was 3.48 and the average team threw about 85 relief innings, the Sox threw 92. Those aren't perfect because I'm not sure how many games the Sox played relative to other teams, but it's fair to say they threw about the same amount if not more.

Overall for the 1st half the Sox had a bullpen era of 3.91 and league average was 3.86. In the 2nd half the Sox had a 5.56.

People forget Hansel Robles threw 9 and 2/3rds in April and gave up 1 run, he was really really good. Then in May he started to fall apart and in June he totally lost it.
Thank you for the information. Perhaps it really was the offense that got them into trouble in the first month.