May 12, 2009 at 11:07 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Pitch counts are in parenthesis.
Down 2-1, Bobby uses Soriano in the 8th (14) and Gonzalez in the 9th (9). Gonzalez gives up 2 runs and the Braves eventually lose 4-3 after K-Rod gives up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th.
Up 8-6, Bobby uses Soriano in the 8th (15) and Gonzalez in the 9th (15). Braves win 8-6.
Up 4-2, Bobby uses Soriano in the 8th (29) and Gonzalez in the 9th (13). Braves win 4-2.
Off day for both Gonzalez and Soriano as we were down by multiple runs most of the game.
Up 6-2, Bobby uses Gonzalez in the 9th (16). Braves win 6-2.
Up 4-2, Bobby uses Gonzalez in the 8th (17) and Soriano in the 9th (12). Braves win 4-2.
Up 8-3 with 2 runners on, Bobby calls for Gonzalez to warm up, though he isn’t used.
Up 3-2, Bobby uses Gonzalez in the 9th (17). Blows the save, Bennett takes the loss in the 10th.
There’s 2 things you should take from this.
First, the back end of the bullpen is very effective in general. They’ve played a very large part in our recent success. And there is much reason to be encouraged by the bullpen.
Secondly, Bobby Cox is using the back end of this bullpen ENTIRELY TOO MUCH. He’s just completely mismanaged it. I know it’s good and he feels comfortable with it at the end of close games, but they’re relief aces for a reason, you moron. You can’t use them every time you want to. Because, when you REALLY NEED THEM, in the super-high leverage situations, they’ll be unavailable or ineffective. That’s what we saw tonight. Gonzalez has now pitched on 6 of the last 8 days and warmed up on a 7th. Soriano has pitched 5 of the last 8 days. This is just absolutely absurd. There’s a reason Tony LaRussa started using Eckersley exclusively in the 9th when his team is ahead by 3 or less. That’s the time that the opposition needs to score the most. And that’s presumably the time they’re trying the hardest to score. Save your relief aces for then. It’s simple.
On the 5th and 9th there was NO REASON to use Soriano or Gonzalez. When you’re down, you don’t use your relief ace unless he needs to get regular work. When you’re up 6-2, you don’t use your relief ace unless he needs regular work. And there was no reason for Bobby to even get Gonzalez warm on the 11th. With 2 outs and a 5 run lead, I don’t care if the sacks are juiced, you get your 4th or 5th best pitcher on the relief staff warm, not your relief ace.
I’ve been on various blogs talking about how I don’t approve of Bobby’s overuse of the back end of our bullpen for a few days now fearing a situation like this would happen. And it did. And we REALLY needed a relief ace. Unfortunately, one was unavailable and one was ineffective because he’d been overused for a week straight.
We need to call up Medlen just to give our relief pitchers a rest.