Every baseball season I have the same thought running through my head:
It is the first topic addressed by media, managers and fans alike. These ‘middle-men’ are the talk of baseball and for a position with no recognition compared to the starting pitcher or the closer. The Middle Men sure seem to be a huge component to any teams success or failure.
I hear the phrase following a game finish “well our bullpen” with either lights-out, couldn’t get it done, worn-out, got it done or some other way to reason for the outcome.
So why do these athletes not get more credit or fame or attention? Where are the middle relievers on the all-star ballot?
The game’s outcome is heavy on these guys shoulders as it could be a run or two or three that separates the score and the middle guys have to hold up the opposing bats so their guys can play catch or lengthen their lead.
To think of the last few seasons the thriving teams who win in the regular season and the post season have the strongest bullpens. This is true more then in the past years because the middle guys get hurt, worn out and blamed more then any others on the baseball field.
And imagine most of the sixth, seventh and eighth inning guys probably came into the minors as starters or closers. There status which in their respected home town or high school teams has been blown by being tossed in the bullpen. So in addition it is an ego blow and you never know when you are going to be thrown onto a game so in reality no day is a day off even if you are not physically in the game, the option is a constant possibility.
These blue-collar, workhorses pick up a loss much easier then a win. When pitched a “lights-out” one or two innings the win is given to the starter or the closer almost every time. And even if the game is a blow out by the sixth or after one of their arms will finish the game on most days, so not to exhaust the starter or the closer.
In essence I feel middle- relievers are the heart of the pitching staffs across the board. Winning, losing or tied these guys are tossed around expected to do whatever their job is for current situation. It is an everyday job, with endless probable situations that change the outcome of a teams ultimate successes.
Lets start to cheer and value the most crucial group of humbled group of guys who never get the credit of success. Realize them as the men in the bullpen who are the bridge to more then just the closer but to the actual win or lose component so vital to a team.
- Tim Norton Update: Throwing bullpens and feeling find (riveraveblues.com)
- Hernandez feels at home in D-backs bullpen (mlb.mlb.com)
- What a Relief: Is Bullpen the Answer to Yanks’ Questionable Rotation? (pinstripealley.com)
- Grabbing the Bullpen by the Horns: What Is the Optimal Strategy for Using Relievers? (pinstripealley.com)
- You: 2012 MLB Predictions: San Francisco Giants Season Preview (bleacherreport.com)
- Spring decision: The eighth inning (yankees.lhblogs.com)
- The 10 best things about being a D’Backs fan (sports.yahoo.com)