Showalter’s bullpen philosophy

It’s not surprising that we’re learning more about new manager Buck Showalter with each passing day.

Showalter already has established that he’s not ready to anoint a closer and he doesn’t care about saves. He also doesn’t want his relievers warming up if they’re not going to pitch.

We tend to forget that a reliever might not enter a game for three or four days, but if he’s up every night, he’s still taxing his arm. I’ve heard bullpen guys complain about past managers burning them out in that manner.

“If I was going to walk in a ballpark and I had one day to make an evaluation on if somebody had a grip on what they were trying to do, I would probably watch the bullpen,” he said. “I’m really sensitive to guys getting up and not pitching in a game. I got that from John Oates and different guys.

“Put yourselves in their shoes. The phone rings, there’s an adrenaline surge, it rings again, there’s a surge. You keep going to that well and it’s not there. You don’t use him in a game and you can’t figure out why he can’t get anybody out the next night. But you’ve got to get certain innings from your starters. That’s why we’re carrying 13 pitchers right now.

“I can remember breaking camp and the decision was either nine or 10 pitchers. Now it’s 11, 12 or 13. I’m sure they thought about 14 at some point here.”

Showalter might prefer a four-man bench at some point, but his starters will dictate whether he can afford that luxury.

It won’t be long before rosters expand in September and he won’t have such worries.

blog comments powered by Disqus