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Sunday, September 5, 2010

breaking down Joe Torre and the Dodgers bullpen

Ok so I know I said I wasnt going to post today, but after watching last nights obligatory bullpen implosion again, I decided I wanted to sneak this post in, with Stac handling tonights game analysis.

in trying to analyze whats gone wrong with this years bullpen disasters for the dodgers, you can look no further than their Manager Joe Torre.
now Ive decided to let up a little bit on him, after all the overhwelming consensus, on dodger talk, and with the media, is that Joe has had no other options and has been forced to use what he has, which is a collection of poor relievers, who are simply not preforming. now That is true to some extent, but to say the dodgers have had no other options is just wrong.

Last year the dodgers had a terrific bullpen, which was a big reason they went to the NLCS last year. several guys were having career years, Broxton was at the top of his game, and the late season addition of former all-star closer Geirge Sherrill, cemented the Dodgers with one of the strongest bullpens in the National League.

lets take a look at last years bullpen roster

Guillermo Mota
Will Ohman
Cory Wade
Jeff Weaver

this years roster began with Mota and Ohman gone, and Kuo, and Wade on the DL. Bellisario failed to make it to spring training on time because of Visa problems.

here is what the dodgers bullpen looked like at the start of the 2010 season. try not to vomit when you see it.

Russ Ortiz
Ramon Ortiz
Carlos Monasterios

other pitchers who have been with the club or are currently with the club at some point this season included
Jon Link
Travis schlicting
Kenley Jansen
Justin Miller
Jack taschner-(very briefly thank god)
Octavio Dotel-(king bum)

looking at this pathetic merry go round of rejects would make anyone sick.

now Im not going to bore you with a bunch of stats, but I did see one very glaring stat which sums up alot of the problems with this bullpen and that is the astronomically bad and thats the walks per 9 innings ratio, which is up at somewhere around in the 5s. this is pretty bad, these guys just cant throw strikes and come into the game and walk countless batters.
the dodgers rank at the bottom of the leauge in almost every bullpen category, relief ERA, blown saves, inherited runners scored, etc, etc.

first lets get into why in the world anyone would start the year off with Ramon and Russ ortiz, two of the worst pitchers in baseball over the last 5 years. now I know what your going to say, the dodgers are cheap, thats why, and several relievers were hurt, forcing there hands to give roster spots to these two washed up losers. NO NO NO NO. to beleive that the dodgers were "forced" or ahd no other options is just complete nonsense. the fact is the dodgers had other options, and for some reason chose to go to these guys.

Ramon Ortiz was predictably horrible, being finally DFA'd in late may, and Russ Ortiz was so unfathomably bad that the dodgers actually had to force him into retiement only a week into the season. SIGH

another schock was the rise and fall of former all-star George Sherrill. I wont even get into how bad he has been this year, but let me put it this way to you. he went six weeks without recording a strikeout SIX WEEKS. and right handed batters are hitting .433 against him last time I checked. The dodgers had put him on waivers back in July, and to no ones shock he cleared. really? you mean no one wanted a washed up releif pitcher who cant get anyone out and whos making over 4 million dollars? get outtta here!

another big problem is Joe Torre's inability to use his bullpen properly. his attrocious bullpen managment, and terrible strategies, have been well documented since his days with the Yankees. many people have reffered to it as the "Scott Proctor sydrome" that is Joe finds a reliable reliever and uses him over and over and over and over again in unnessecary situations until his arm falls off. but doesnt that mean that the reliever has to be good first? Scott Proctor was reliable. who falls in love with George Sherrill or Octavio Dotel?

there is a long list of reliable and talented relief pitchers who were let go by the dodgers for no apparent reason over the last couple of years, Mota, Ohman, takahashi Saito, etc etc etc. the list goes on and on.

Joe has always been a big matchups guy, but most of the decisions hes made this year just cant be explained.

now I know what your going to say, fine pick on poor Joe, but what other options did the dodgers have? well just other younger more upside laden players under team control, that have been left to rot down in AAA for most of the year. once again the Dodgers choose to go with the washed up retreads, instead of younger players with better potential.

what about travis Schlicting? I know he is on the DL right now with a sore shoulder but he has been decent at times this year spent between the dodgers and AAA. and what about Jon Link? and Cory Wade? Link has pitched about 5 innings this year, and Wade after coming off the DL in June, has been left to decompose down in AAA without being called up once this year.

the question remains though what do we do with Jonathon Broxton? I dont know at this point. im almost ready to say trade him for a big bat, and let another team sort him out. a healthy Kuo as closer and Jansen as a setup man for next year sounds better to me.
Broxton has only two pitches, a 96 MPH flat fastball with no mvoement, and a hanging slider. most relief pitchers have more than 2 pitches, some even have 3 4 or 5! its obvious that Broxton needs to develop another pitch and work on his command.
but you cant discount the time in June this year when Torre used him 5 games in a row and had him warm up on the 6th day, leading up to a 48 pitch explosion meltdown against thje Yankees at home.
oh and if your wondering only one of those games was actually a save situation.

like I said I wont put all the blame on Torre and Colletti, but to say that they had no other options this year is just wrong.

next year if you dont want to spend any money fine, then go with Schlicting, Link, Wade, Monasterios, Kuo and Jasnsen. and lets see what the young guys can do. Otherwise break open the wallet and actually spend the money for some decent relief pitching.
Once Torre sets off for retirement after this season, it might be time for the Dodgers to rethink this failing philosophy of washed up retreads over young guys. are you listening Ned? maybe if you stop trotting out the same rotting corpses night after night and give some of the young guys a shot it might lead to some better baseball decisions. just sayin.....

after all it doesnt take a genious to figure out that Sherrill is finished, cooked, unpitchable, and that Octavio Dotel sucks balls.

oh how I long for the days of Eric Gagne and the game over that would flash on the dodger stadium diamond vision whenever he would come in. and I dont want to hear any of that bullshit about him being juiced. yea yea yea I know he was Juiced out of his Mind. but I dont care. He was excellent for three years. I mean how many closers go entire seasons without a blown save, and win a cy young award.

Now he was a real closer. take note Jonathon

PS-please note I didnt mention Kuo or jansesn, because there the only two pitchers who are actually ummm GOOD. this is a post for Joe and the rest of the rejects.

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