Whicker: World Series pitchers have become victims of modern playoff baseball

first_imgThey have doggedly turned their biggest edge, a bullpen that posted 25 consecutive scoreless innings earlier in October, into their most critical weakness.Kenley Jansen has thrown 90 pitches, Kenta Maeda 92. Maeda, a starter for most of his life, threw 42 on Friday and had to pitch again Sunday, and not well.Brandon Morrow worked four games in five days and, alarmed by the shrapnel around him, volunteered to pitch a fifth time in six days. Morrow later admitted he was being “selfish,” but Dave Roberts listened to him and the Dodgers paid.The Cubs did it last year and the Dodgers and Houston are doing it now. They overstock their rosters with pitchers, overwork the ones they trust and ignore the rest.Josh Fields got rocked in Game 2 and is now a non-person (just like catcher Yasmani Grandal). Pedro Baez missed the first two series and presumably would be fresh, except he’s off the roster. Brandon McCarthy is taking up space that another hitter or infielder could occupy.Alex Wood pitched a no-hitter in Game 4 until he gave up a home run to Evan Gattis. That was his 84th pitch and he left. The Dodgers got away with it, but the terror of actually facing a lineup for the third time has consumed all of baseball. Sometimes you listen to the data and sometimes you go with your lyin’ eyes. And, granted, the Dodgers often play the regular season that way. But when you try to dominate every matchup, you need a 30-man staff to survive.San Francisco won three World Series in five years through bullpen management. Their relievers’ WHIPs were 0.92, 0.88 and 1.07. The Dodgers’ bullpen WHIP is still 0.94 in the postseason overall, but 1.48 in the World Series.In 2014 the Giants had workhorses like Jeremy Affeldt and specialists like Javier Lopez and never confused the two. They also kept everyone as fresh as possible. Affeldt led with 11 appearances in the 17-game postseason. Manager Bruce Bochy was holistic, not impulsive.And Bochy never let his starters relieve until Game 7 of the World Series, when tomorrow was Opening Day 2015, and Madison Bumgarner took it and ran.Make no mistake. Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish painted Roberts into this corner when they came up small in Games 5 and 3.But it’s time to quit treating the fifth inning like the ninth, time to stop worrying so much about The Next Out and worry about all 27, time to trust the players who got you there and quit invading their comfort zones.The footnote is the Houston bullpen, which has been worse than L.A.’s and is more disheveled. Ken Giles, the season-long closer, watched his mates blow a 12-9 lead in the ninth. Houston won it against the overexposed Jansen.All the “3s” on the Minute Maid Park scoreboard reminded you of what James Harden does for a living, down the street. But Harden has unlimited 3s inside his shoulder. Pitchers are perishable. They are made of tissue, not pixels. As long as managers and those above them keep ignoring that, the World Series will become an even cheaper thrill. Barbaro suffers setback Dunleavy offers new motivation Tailback Bell to soon rejoin team Kobe-less Lakers drop third consecutive game Group claims China violates human rights Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Managers like Joe Torre would use setup men like Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton in the sixth and seventh to get to finishers like Mariano Rivera in the eighth. If postseason games are just like the 104 regular-season games you won, why not manage accordingly?How did we get from there to here, to the last two World Series, ruled and ruined by the lust to win every pitching matchup and pull every reliever who doesn’t go 1-2-3?The Dodgers lost Game 5 to Houston 13-12 on Sunday, and trail the World Series 3-2 and must beat Houston’s Justin Verlander to get to a Game 7.Video: Dodgers face Astros in Game 6 on Halloween In 1990 the Cincinnati Reds used eight pitchers in the World Series. Without cloning.Sure, it was a four-game sweep. But Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers, the Nasty Boys of the bullpen, cut through Oakland with 8 2/3 innings, six hits, three walks, four strikeouts and no runs.In 2002 the Angels had mishaps galore with their starting pitchers in a seven-game win over the Giants, in another Series where the baseballs were slick and aerodynamically talented.Related Articles Highland wrestler wants to ease the pain As the teams set what was the Series record for home runs until Saturday night, no starter other than John Lackey could pitch deep. But Brendan Donnelly gave up one hit in 7 2/3 innings. Closer Troy Percival did nothing but close, with three innings the whole Series, including the final one. Street faces Napolitano in 38th District last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *