Baltimore Orioles: October bullpen usage won’t happen in April
Despite the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs using their bullpen tactically during the World Series, the Baltimore Orioles won’t use their bullpen the same way in April.
During the Fall Classic, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs had a battle of the bullpens, one that was in sharp contrast on how the Baltimore Orioles used their pen in the one-game Wild Card showdown with the Toronto Blue Jays.
While the way the Indians and Cubs used the bullpen changed baseball, the Orioles would rather not tax out theirs in April.
Zach Britton said the following during Orioles FanFest on Saturday:
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"“It’s not practical for a 162-game season, unless you want guys hurt in the first month of the season. There is something to having good depth in your bullpen and a lot of those teams didn’t have the depth that we have. You don’t have to rely on guys like that.“You saw the workload that Brad (Brach) had when Darren (O’Day) was out last year and you see that took a toll on him towards the end of the season. So I don’t think we will see usage like the playoffs other than in the playoffs any time soon.”"
During the postseason, there are more days off in between. Hence why managers like to use their bullpen for longer outings. During the regular season, there aren’t as many days off and managers have to try to extend their relievers until the next day off.
Let’s say for example, the Orioles are facing the New York Yankees in a weekend series. The Orioles have a 3-2 lead and in order to build the bridge to Britton, Buck Showalter sends in Brad Brach. Brach pitches two scoreless innings and the Orioles end up winning the game. While it’s good in the short run, it ends up hurting the Orioles for that specific series.
The Orioles would be without Brach for two days, meaning the bullpen would be short a reliever. That would give the Yankees an advantage if the Orioles starters don’t pitch deep in the next two games.
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Stretching out relievers sounds good during the postseason. However in the beginning of the season, it’s imperative to have all of your relievers for the 162-game marathon.