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why-do-we-have-12-pitchers-2 | May | 2005 Articles

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Why do we have 12 pitchers?

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Bobby Cox, the last several years, has broken spring training with 12 pitchers. His reasons at the time were because he didn't believe his starters were conditioned enough early in the season to pitch deep into games. 2005 is a different story. Smoltz, Hampton, Hudson, and Thomson have been inning-eaters, even in April. Each are on pace to pitch well more than 200 innings. Because of this, the bullpen hasn't been getting as much action. Meanwhile, Bobby Cox has been trying to employ his bench a lot late in games. He has been using a lot of pinch-runners and pinch-hitters, and in the process he's been running out of players. He's had to pinch-hit Eddie Perez with the game on the line. He's pinch-ran with Jorge Sosa! I wonder why he didn't use Hampton in that situation, who didn't start that day I recall. He probably used Sosa because of his experience in the minor leagues as a position player. But still, Sosa has been one of the primary set-up men this year. You don't use him to pinch-run. Roman Colon still has options if I'm not mistaken, and hasn't pitched much (just 8 innings). He gave up a 3 run homer tonight, probably the cause of rustiness, that may have cost the Braves the game. Meanwhile, Bobby is struggling with the tactical use of playing with at least one man short (Chipper), and with a 4 man bench. This doesn't mention the fact that the Braves really need another bat. I think this has cost the Braves at least 2 or 3 games so far this year. The Braves really have enough left-handed hitters on the bench, at least in comparison to the right-handers off the bench (Langerhans and Orr are the lefties, and Betemit switch-hits). Other than Julio Franco, the Braves only have one right-handed hitter off the bench, and that's Eddie Perez. Wilson Betemit is a switch-hitter, but with Chipper out, he and Orr have primarily been handling 3rd base. The Braves need another solid right-handed hitter off the bench. This would be solved if Langerhans were playing everyday and either Jordan or Mondesi were coming off the bench...but the Braves have to get another player on their bench!

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