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Quick Observation: Bullpen in This Series


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Other than Frieri's mistake pitch in game one, the bullpen put together a ton of nice innings in this series.

In the two extra inning games, the pen was used more according to who was available, rather than who "should" be pitching in certain innings/situations. Salas, Jepsen, Kohn..the usual whipping boys for how much the pen collectively sucks, were lights out.

 

To me this suggests that it might not be as much low talent level out there, but how they are being used, that could be the main reason for the poor results. These guys didn't go from gas cans to elite overnight, yet there they were, throwing 10 pitch, shut down innings, against a great hitting team.

 

My obvious assertion here, is that there is much more talent in the bullpen than people think, and that the way it is set up and used by Scioscia and Butcher is much more of a problem than those who give them a pass, seem to think they are...while saying things like "nobody could get results from such a collection of garbage". 

 

Just maybe, it's not Dipoto giving them horrible pitchers, but the guys pushing the buttons on the field, that are responsible for many of the on field struggles ?

 

Skaggs fell into a fastball-fastball-curve pattern last night that even the A's announcers commented on, as did the people posting in the game day thread, and it continued even after he started getting hammered because of it. This is just poor coaching and pitch calling. Why???

I think a change in pitching philosophy is beyond warranted, especially with such a young staff.

I rest my case.

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I think the catcher is calling the pitches, but I know there are pre-game, pre-series meetings, where they go over, in detail, how they intend to pitch to every player. Sitting in the dugout and allowing a young pitcher and his battery mate fall into an obvious pattern is inexcusable, imo.

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Salas was horrible last year too, should the Cardinals fire their manager and pitching coach?

 

I find this thread to be full of holes.  I'm still pissed at everyone, and would be happy if Arte fired the whole lot of them but to make the argument that they are good based on on two games is silly.  Also, to use the fact that they improved as evidence against the pitching coach is a true head scratcher.

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Salas was horrible last year too, should the Cardinals fire their manager and pitching coach?

 

I find this thread to be full of holes.  I'm still pissed at everyone, and would be happy if Arte fired the whole lot of them but to make the argument that they are good based on on two games is silly.  Also, to use the fact that they improved as evidence against the pitching coach is a true head scratcher.

But I didn't use Salas as a single example. I used the pen as an entire group. Out of their "defined" roles they ALL pitched well.

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Super stoked that our bullpen guys have made adjustments and started flashing their secondary pitches to keep the opposition off balance. This is key!

 

Aside from Joe Smith's command issues the other night, which is rare, the other guys have failed when they've just grooved fastballs right down the middle. All of them! 

 

Recently they've been hitting the corners with their fastballs and offering their sliders/changeups to keep the hitter honest and make it difficult to hone in on the FB.   

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Super stoked that our bullpen guys have made adjustments and started flashing their secondary pitches to keep the opposition off balance. This is key!

 

Aside from Joe Smith's command issues the other night, which is rare, the other guys have failed when they've just grooved fastballs right down the middle. All of them! 

 

Recently they've been hitting the corners with their fastballs and offering their sliders/changeups to keep the hitter honest and make it difficult to hone in on the FB.   

Smith looked like he was chomping at the bit to get back out there and vindicate his poor outing. Hopefully this attitude rubs off on everyone in the pen. Half of baseball is 90% mental, if I have that quote right.

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It's the inconsistency of most of these pitchers that worries me. I agree that there is more talent in the pen than we give them credit for. Kohn is the best example I can think of for this. Hopefully they prove all us Debbie Downers wrong this season and pitch well.

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Other than Frieri's mistake pitch in game one, the bullpen put together a ton of nice innings in this series.

In the two extra inning games, the pen was used more according to who was available, rather than who "should" be pitching in certain innings/situations. Salas, Jepsen, Kohn..the usual whipping boys for how much the pen collectively sucks, were lights out.

 

To me this suggests that it might not be as much low talent level out there, but how they are being used, that could be the main reason for the poor results. These guys didn't go from gas cans to elite overnight, yet there they were, throwing 10 pitch, shut down innings, against a great hitting team.

 

My obvious assertion here, is that there is much more talent in the bullpen than people think, and that the way it is set up and used by Scioscia and Butcher is much more of a problem than those who give them a pass, seem to think they are...while saying things like "nobody could get results from such a collection of garbage". 

 

Just maybe, it's not Dipoto giving them horrible pitchers, but the guys pushing the buttons on the field, that are responsible for many of the on field struggles ?

 

Skaggs fell into a fastball-fastball-curve pattern last night that even the A's announcers commented on, as did the people posting in the game day thread, and it continued even after he started getting hammered because of it. This is just poor coaching and pitch calling. Why???

I think a change in pitching philosophy is beyond warranted, especially with such a young staff.

I rest my case.

 

First, observing if they are elite pitchers or gas can pitchers can be evaluated over a three game period.  Everyone goes through good periods and bad periods, its how someone performs over an extended period of time that counts.  In all fairness, my criticism of the "blowpen" maybe unwarranted.  However, it is a fact, that half of our losses are attributed to the bullpen. 

 

Second, you may have a point about the pitch calling.  It is the catcher who calls the pitch and it is the pitchers who confirms or ask for another selection.  Sosh does not call, and maybe that is on Ianetta.  One thing Sosh praised Mathis about is how he handled the staff.  Maybe we are seeing how Mathis was an excellent catcher when it came to handling the staff (although he still sucked at hitting).  It is funny because so many people argued that the catcher influences on how a pitcher pitches is minimal.  I guess we are seeing that isn't true.

 

Finally, I laugh every time you bring up the problem to bad coaching.  Its like your on a campaign to convince people that Sosh is a crappy manager and should be fired.....Maybe if your turn enough people against him on AW it will lead to his ouster?  Maybe you should write Arte a letter insisting Sosh be fired (I believed an AW poster actually did this.)  Now don't get me wrong, I don't really believe you have some agenda.  I know your a just venting your views like all of us.

 

Where I disagree with you regarding coaching:  Neither you nor I know what the instruction is on the field and how Sosh manages each player.  We are not in a position to fully evaluate it.  Yes, you may disagree with how Sosh puts relievers in certain roles, but that is Sosh's philosophy.  If his philosophy is flawed it would not be successful.  However, Sosh's philosophy with the Pen worked for 7 years!  Why, because he had the talent to be successful.  For seven years he had Shields pitch primarily the 8th inning, and KROD in the 9th.  And if I am not mistaken I believe the Angels did not lose when they had the lead entering the 8th inning.  To go with your argument, "I do not believe a great manager turns into a crappy one" over night. 

 

However, I do believe a great manager is a great manager because he knows how to get good talent to perform and the lack of talent will turn the best of managers into bad ones.

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First, observing if they are elite pitchers or gas can pitchers can be evaluated over a three game period.  Everyone goes through good periods and bad periods, its how someone performs over an extended period of time that counts.  In all fairness, my criticism of the "blowpen" maybe unwarranted.  However, it is a fact, that half of our losses are attributed to the bullpen. 

 

Second, you may have a point about the pitch calling.  It is the catcher who calls the pitch and it is the pitchers who confirms or ask for another selection.  Sosh does not call, and maybe that is on Ianetta.  One thing Sosh praised Mathis about is how he handled the staff.  Maybe we are seeing how Mathis was an excellent catcher when it came to handling the staff (although he still sucked at hitting).  It is funny because so many people argued that the catcher influences on how a pitcher pitches is minimal.  I guess we are seeing that isn't true.

 

Finally, I laugh every time you bring up the problem to bad coaching.  Its like your on a campaign to convince people that Sosh is a crappy manager and should be fired.....Maybe if your turn enough people against him on AW it will lead to his ouster?  Maybe you should write Arte a letter insisting Sosh be fired (I believed an AW poster actually did this.)  Now don't get me wrong, I don't really believe you have some agenda.  I know your a just venting your views like all of us.

 

Where I disagree with you regarding coaching:  Neither you nor I know what the instruction is on the field and how Sosh manages each player.  We are not in a position to fully evaluate it.  Yes, you may disagree with how Sosh puts relievers in certain roles, but that is Sosh's philosophy.  If his philosophy is flawed it would not be successful.  However, Sosh's philosophy with the Pen worked for 7 years!  Why, because he had the talent to be successful.  For seven years he had Shields pitch primarily the 8th inning, and KROD in the 9th.  And if I am not mistaken I believe the Angels did not lose when they had the lead entering the 8th inning.  To go with your argument, "I do not believe a great manager turns into a crappy one" over night. 

 

However, I do believe a great manager is a great manager because he knows how to get good talent to perform and the lack of talent will turn the best of managers into bad ones.

I would contend that Scioscia's "7 years of bullpen success" as you call it, has to be tempered by mostly horrible playoff record after 2002. The AL west was a weak division and yeah, we owned it back then, but once the playoffs started we were sent packing with wimpers in every year but 09.

 

In 2002, Shields was in his 2nd season, Krod was a miracle Sept call up, and guys like Lou Pote, Matt Wise, Mark Lukasiewicz, and reclamation projects like Donnelly and Weber were woven into an effective pen by a guy named Black. It isn't reality to assert that Scioscia has had his greatest success with great bullpens, he has had his best success when he had better coaching to help him run the bullpens he had.

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Good post homebrewer, but a few points.

To say the AL west was weak. Meh, maybe. From 2005-8 it probably was. But we also had a winning record against every other division. Everyone always talked up the al east, but aside from bos / ny, it was always very weak until tb got it together.

As far as how we did in the playoffs. In 2004 we went into the boston series after having given guillen (our sexond biggest bat that year) the boot. Salmon throew out the first pitch on crutches, and glaus came back way early from what was supposed to be a season ending injury.

2005 we knocked off the yanks, including a big emergency start from santana, but Chicago had the best pitching that year. (And doug eddings).

In 2007, we really had no competition and to be fair, shouldnt have been in the playoffs probably. In 2008 we choked to boston again, and in 2009 brian fuentes and a suddenly clurch arod knocked us off.

Aside from 2008.....we never lost a playoff series to anyone but the team that went on to win the world series. And aside from 2008 (I think), the team that knocked us off swept the world series.....

So we werent just the benefactor of a weak division. We were a very good team. The prob was (after 2004) we had a weak offense that was too dependant on just vlad. Arte finally got the hint and started chasing bats....and weve let what was a great pitching staff fall apart

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I would contend that Scioscia's "7 years of bullpen success" as you call it, has to be tempered by mostly horrible playoff record after 2002. The AL west was a weak division and yeah, we owned it back then, but once the playoffs started we were sent packing with wimpers in every year but 09.

 

 

You ever looked at the AL West records outside of the division?    ESPN has the information as far back as 2003 or 2004 I believe.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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Good post homebrewer, but a few points.

To say the AL west was weak. Meh, maybe. From 2005-8 it probably was. But we also had a winning record against every other division. Everyone always talked up the al east, but aside from bos / ny, it was always very weak until tb got it together.

As far as how we did in the playoffs. In 2004 we went into the boston series after having given guillen (our sexond biggest bat that year) the boot. Salmon throew out the first pitch on crutches, and glaus came back way early from what was supposed to be a season ending injury.

2005 we knocked off the yanks, including a big emergency start from santana, but Chicago had the best pitching that year. (And doug eddings).

In 2007, we really had no competition and to be fair, shouldnt have been in the playoffs probably. In 2008 we choked to boston again, and in 2009 brian fuentes and a suddenly clurch arod knocked us off.

Aside from 2008.....we never lost a playoff series to anyone but the team that went on to win the world series. And aside from 2008 (I think), the team that knocked us off swept the world series.....

So we werent just the benefactor of a weak division. We were a very good team. The prob was (after 2004) we had a weak offense that was too dependant on just vlad. Arte finally got the hint and started chasing bats....and weve let what was a great pitching staff fall apart

All fair points. I think we are all guilty of revisionist history as the years go by, myself included.

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I would contend that Scioscia's "7 years of bullpen success" as you call it, has to be tempered by mostly horrible playoff record after 2002. The AL west was a weak division and yeah, we owned it back then, but once the playoffs started we were sent packing with wimpers in every year but 09.

 

In 2002, Shields was in his 2nd season, Krod was a miracle Sept call up, and guys like Lou Pote, Matt Wise, Mark Lukasiewicz, and reclamation projects like Donnelly and Weber were woven into an effective pen by a guy named Black. It isn't reality to assert that Scioscia has had his greatest success with great bullpens, he has had his best success when he had better coaching to help him run the bullpens he had.

 

First, I would like to say I am enjoying this debate.  You are coming at me with facts and not emotional tirades (which happens so often on AW).

 

I do feel its unfair to criticize Sosh because what you call lack of playoff success.  First, he won a WS.  That means he has had the ultimate success.  Second, playoffs, as many have pointed out on here, is a crap shoot that "anything can happen" or those who are playing the best will win it.  That may or not be the case, however, playoffs have such a low sample size you really can't use them for full evaluations.  Also, we lost to the eventual World Champions in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009.  Since only one team can win the WS, being knocked out the WS champion is hardly a whimper.

 

Third, you make sense with Black, Maddon and Roenike (you didn't mention the later two).  To support my argument, that a great manager is only good with good talent, that would be included with his staff as well.  A poor staff can make a good manager look bad.  However, if it was all Black, then how come our pitching staff was so good when black left?  If I am not mistaken, but our pitching staff and bullpen was pretty good in 2007, and 2008.  The staff was good in 2009, but in my opinion the bullpen was poor.  However, back to my point, if it was all Black, than why did they have success after he left?  If its poor coaching now, than why didn't the poor coaching effect them in 2008 and 2009.

 

Finally, you talk about the weakness of the AL West.  I am sorry but that is a poor excuse.  The West was not as weak as analyst say.  It maybe true that the Angels may have been so dominant over the West, but if you look at the AL West record vs. the all AL teams they were pretty competitive.  For example, the AL West had a winning record against the AL East in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  They were 500 against the AL East in 2005.  If the West was so weak, how come they did so well collectively against the "beasts of the easts?  Why because the East was not as good as ESPN analyst and east writers claim.  They were top heavy.  They had Boston and NY and the rest of the league was average to crappy.  In 2005 60% of the AL East was under 500.  Meanwhile 80% of the West was over 500. 

 

Against the AL Central: The AL West had winning records against the Central in 2004, 2005 and 2009.  In fact, I would claim that outside of 2008 the AL Central was the weakest division.    In fact, if todays WC structure was in place, the 2nd wild card team would have come out of the West three times out of those six years.  In other words, outside of 2008 and maybe 2007, the AL West was not as weak as detractors want to think.   

 

To summarize, I think it is wrong to discredit the Angels (Scioscia's success)  in those years by saying "the AL West sucked, they lost early in playoffs, or they had Black.  Why?  Because the numbers show that the West was not the weakest division during majority of those years.  Yes, they may have lost early in the playoffs however, they lost to the eventual World Champions four times out of those six years.  Nothing to be ashamed about that.  And finally, the Angels won without Black, later without Maddon, later without Roenicke. 

 

They began to lose the division when their core aged and had to be replaced (after the 2009 season).  We were good enough to compete so we made the mistake of not rebuilding, but trying to "buy" the right player to put us over the top.  It led to bad contracts, under performing veterans, and a crappy farm system.  In my mind, and I know you disagree, It is not on Scioscia.  Its on poor personal moves.

 

Now, some on this board have said a "change of leadership" could help.  I really can't argue that.  It very well may help.  Many times an underperforming teams start to play better with a change of direction.  However, I would argue that improvement is minimal and short term.  Yes, change for the sake of change may help.  But then again, it could make matters worse.  The real problem is from top to bottom, this team is not constructed well.

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Good post homebrewer, but a few points.

To say the AL west was weak. Meh, maybe. From 2005-8 it probably was. But we also had a winning record against every other division. Everyone always talked up the al east, but aside from bos / ny, it was always very weak until tb got it together.

As far as how we did in the playoffs. In 2004 we went into the boston series after having given guillen (our sexond biggest bat that year) the boot. Salmon throew out the first pitch on crutches, and glaus came back way early from what was supposed to be a season ending injury.

2005 we knocked off the yanks, including a big emergency start from santana, but Chicago had the best pitching that year. (And doug eddings).

In 2007, we really had no competition and to be fair, shouldnt have been in the playoffs probably. In 2008 we choked to boston again, and in 2009 brian fuentes and a suddenly clurch arod knocked us off.

Aside from 2008.....we never lost a playoff series to anyone but the team that went on to win the world series. And aside from 2008 (I think), the team that knocked us off swept the world series.....

So we werent just the benefactor of a weak division. We were a very good team. The prob was (after 2004) we had a weak offense that was too dependant on just vlad. Arte finally got the hint and started chasing bats....and weve let what was a great pitching staff fall apart

 

Probably should have read more before I responded.  You made pretty much the same arguments as I did.

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I think the team is constructed well enough to win. I see lack of emotion, effort, and desire. I see lack of putting players in  positions to win. I'll point to the way this team played in the later stages of last season. Guys like Cowgill and Shuck gave the team a mental and emotional lift, and the results on the field got better by leaps and bounds. Before that they would get behind and mail it in.

Last night or two were better, the team battled. If they keep that attitude going, they have the pieces to put together plenty of wins. 

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I think the team is constructed well enough to win. I see lack of emotion, effort, and desire. I see lack of putting players in  positions to win. I'll point to the way this team played in the later stages of last season. Guys like Cowgill and Shuck gave the team a mental and emotional lift, and the results on the field got better by leaps and bounds. Before that they would get behind and mail it in.

Last night or two were better, the team battled. If they keep that attitude going, they have the pieces to put together plenty of wins. 

 

I open optimistic that this team is constructed to win.  The key in my mind is the bull pen.  We can't lose 50% of our games because the Pen doesn't do its job!  They have to keep games close in which we are behind or tie (like last night) or they need to close out the lead.  If we fail, than I do not believe we have what is needed to win.

 

That said, I agree that Cowgill, Shuck, and last season Green showed an emotion and passion that is a lift.  However, emotion only last so long before talent over comes.....that is why we need Hamilton and Calhoun back ASAP.  Right now, we don't have the personal to win the division, but maybe the emotion of the youngsters may over come and keep us close.  If we have set backs with Hamilton, Calhoun, or our starting pitchers (as there isn't any depth) than we have trouble.

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