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July 12 Recap

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Braves 7 - Rockies 8

After watching the Phillies and the Mets display some big offense in the early inning of their games, I was certain that it was going to be a bad day for baseball.  The Braves decided to get me thinking otherwise by putting up 3 in the 1st and going into the 7th with a 7 - 3 lead.  However, in the end, they (or, should I say, the bullpen) didn't disappoint.

Before starting on the recap, I wanted look a little deeper at a concern that Martin Gandy raised recently: the use and abuse of the Braves bullpen.  Take a look at the top 5 relievers in appearances amongst all major league relievers, along with some related stats on those pitchers[1]:

Rank Player Name Games IP # of Pitches
1 Peter Moylan 48 36.0 606
2 Pedro Feliciano 47 35.2 509
3 Eric O'Flaherty 46 32.0 511
4 Mike Gonzalez 45 42.0 757
4 Carlos Marmol 45 41.0 824

On the surface, three of the top four guys in our bullpen are getting way too much work.  With these three in the top 5 for appearances and Rafael Soriano not far behind at 18th[2], there is definitely reason to believe that Bobby might be misusing our bullpen.  However, in terms of total number of pitches thrown, there is not a single Atlanta reliever in the top 10[3].

Now, baseball managers, executives, pitching coaches, and more all have their own philosophies on how to properly work starters and relievers.  Since I grew up buying into the Leo Mazzone, who took much of what he learned from Johnny Sain, I believe that it isn't the number of appearances that matters, but the amount you pitch in each outing.  Mazzone goes as far as to claim that frequent work, which he is famous for, builds a pitcher's strength. That's why once I investigated Bobby Cox's bullpen management, I was neither surprised or too concerned.  In fact, I was fairly pleased, especially with his use of Soriano, who was forced to undergo surgery (most likely) from overuse.

If you disagree with that philosophy, then, as long as you back it up with data and evidence, I completely understand your opinion.  This theory is simply mine, and just so happens to coincide with Mazzone's and Cox's (possibly others who are irrelevant to my point).  And now for the usual rundown:

MVP: Boone Logan.  Coming into the game in the bottom of the fifth with no outs and men on first and second, Logan proceeded to get Seth Smith to ground into a double play and finish the ending with a grounder to short by Garret Atkins.  He went on into the seventh, pitching another one and a third innings.  His final line was 0 hits, 2 walks, and 1 strikeout.

LVP: Luis Valdez.  He gave up the walk-off double to Brad Hawpe.  'Nuff said.

MIP: Brad Hawpe's game winning double.  What a surprise!

UotG: Luis Val- I mean, the bullpen.  If you add up (or subtract?) the WPA of Moylan, Acosta, and Valdez, you get something just worse than -0.6.  Whatever, not even that can get me down during what has been the BEST WEEKEND EVER!!!111

[1] Not including July 12th's game. 
[2] He is tied at 41 games with 8 other relievers. 
[3] The Cubs have 3 players in the top 10. And Dusty Baker isn't even their manager anymore.

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