Is the bullpen a total disaster or just run of the mill?

So according the Amazin' Avenue vox populi last night we learned several things including:

  • Last night's loss is solely on Terry. I guess what must follow from that is that he had better options that would have ensured victory had he exercised them.
  • Terry deserves to be immediately fired.
  • Dice-K should not be allowed anywhere near anything resembling a high-leverage situation. Though I'm not sure if a 3 run lead with no one on base and 6 outs to go is technically high leverage or not.
  • The team would be a playoff contender if not for the bullpen.

So I got to wondering how many games has the bullpen actually cost us? Have they ever balanced that out by playing a meaningful role in helping us win?

I'm not sure of the best way to measure that - so I'm not suggesting this is definitive - but I figured I'd see if there were a way to get some sense of the proportion of how big a problem the pen has been.

I looked at line scores of each game looking for lead changes after the 6th inning. I wanted to see how many games we won and lost late. Now in some of those the pen was a key reason for the late win/loss, there were some wins where the pen wasn't really great and some losses where the pen was very good.

All in all we appear to be 5-5 in games where there were late lead changes - there's also a handful of other games where the pen held a slim late lead, kept us close enough to have a chance to win though we didn't and gave up runs that made the deficit too large to overcome. I note some of those games below but first here are the 10 clearest examples of late wins/losses.

Game 1 vs. Nats: LOST LATE (10th) Led 4-2 after 6. In the 7th Gee put the tying runs on base before leaving in the 7th. They scored. We fell behind 5-4 in the 8th, tied it up in the 9th and allowed 4 runs in the 10th before scoring 2 in the B-10th which was too little too late.

NOTE: their pen was nearly as bad as ours.

Game 5 vs. Reds: WON LATE Led 2-1 after 6, trailed 3-2 after 8, scored 4 runs in the 9th to win.

Game 9 vs. Braves WON LATE. Were tied at 4 after 6. Scored one in 7th & 1 in 8th while pen held the line for a 6-4 win.

Game 10 LOST LATE (11th) despite a good pen outing. Game was tied at 4 after 6. We lost 5-4 in the 11th though the pen only allowed 1 run in 4-2/3 innings. Yeah they took the loss but that's as much on the offense as the pen.

Game 11 WON LATE (13th) mixed outing here. We trailed 3-1 after 6. Led 4-3 after 7. Tied at 6 after 9 and won in the 13th 7-6. 4 of 5 relievers were scoreless but Valverde allowed 3 to score. Pen allowed 3 runs over 5-2/3.

Game 18 vs. Braves: WON LATE (14th) Game was tied after 6 and the pen held the Braves scoreless for 8 innings before we plated a run in the 14th. Pen gets all the credit for this win.

Game 23 vs. Marlins: WON LATE Led 2-1 after 6. Germen gave up 2 in the 8th but we scored 2 off Cishek in the 9th for a walk off win.

Game 24 vs. Marlins: LOST LATE (10th) Tied at 6 after 6 innings. We lost 7-6 in the 10th inning. Pen allowed 1 run in 4-1/3 innings - that's a 2.07 ERA extrapolated. This one is actually on the offense as much as the pen.

Game 29 vs. Rockies: LOST LATE (sort of). Mejia blew a big lead and it was 8-8 after six. We were down one after 7, up one after the visitor 9th and lost in the bottom of the 9th.

LAST NIGHT: LOST LATE I won't detail this one since there are literally thousands of words about it you can find just a mouse click away.

So we're 5-5 in games with a late lead change and before heading to Colorado we were 5-3. I have no idea where that ranks among other clubs but I will note that it's not like we're not 1-9 in those games or even 3-7. We're 5-5 or no blood. The pen has done its job well enough several times to give us a chance to win. Yeah the offense had to deliver in those 5 wins but if the pen had given up an extra run or two in those 5 games . . .

My gut (which should never be trusted - but I don't know how to check the data) tells me that it's likely playoff clubs are generally better than .500 in the "Late Win/Loss" category and lousy clubs are likely much worse than .500 in those games.

So does this mean the bullpen isn't really terrible but merely mediocre? Or if the real problem is Terry does that mean that the pen is actually above average and is only 5-5 in this type of game because of Terry's limits? Or is Terry actually a bullpen genius because despite the horrible talent in the bullpen he's managed them in a way that they're net even in affecting game outcomes?

Of course it's entirely possible that looking at the pen this way offers absolutely no insight and actually distorts the impact the pen has had on the season. But I figured it'd be better to start with some attempt at evaluating leveraged impact to see if there's anything meaningful to be learned. I'd be very curious to hear of anyone else's thoughts on a good way to measure this.

Here are a few other bullpen appearances that might be of interest:

Game 8 vs. Braves FELL SHORT Trailed 4-0 after 6 but the pen then held them scoreless as we scored 3 in the 9th to fall just short of extending the game.

Game 17 vs. Braves: No change we scored 2 in 8th & 2 in 9th to tighten the game but the Braves scored 1 in 8th & 3 in 9th to maintain 2 run lead

Game 19 vs. Cards: Held 2-0 lead for 2-1/3ip.

Game 21 vs. Cards: Shaky hold. Leading 3-1 after six we won the game 3-2 as the tying run was thrown out at the plate Kirk to Tejada's to d'Aranaud's to snuff out the tying run and end the game.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.

Join Amazin' Avenue

You must be a member of Amazin' Avenue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Amazin' Avenue. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.