A lot has been made of how overworked the Blue Jays bullpen is, especially after a couple of blowups in the past week. Aaron Loup had a bad time of it yesterday, and all I had in my twitter feed was how overworked Loup was. That got me looking at Loup's use. Before yesterday, he last use was Thursday, when he threw 19 pitches (and many of us were thinking he should have been allowed to throw more). I didn't really see that as overuse.
I always thought Gibby was pretty good at using his bullpen, making sure guys got work, and sharing it out well, but let's take a look at how the early season is going. The top row is the date, from March 31 to April 20, we had the, terrible, doubleheader on the 17:
Aaron Loup seems to be a favorite of Gibby's, and it's easy to see why, a 2.73 career ERA and, pretty much has a rubber arm. He's only pitched on consecutive days once, and that was only 27 combined pitches. The most pitches he's thrown is 29, yesterday, and that was because of the 3 walks. He's been in 8 of 19 games, which would work out to 68 on the season, a healthy number but not nuts and, at the rate he's going, he'd have around 74 innings. I don't really think he's been overworked.
Brett Cecil has pitched n consecutive days twice and he's pitched in 4 of the past 6 days, but he's topped out at 20 pitches. He's been in 9 of 19 games, which would be 77 games, if he continued just like this and would be about 68 innings. Gibby seems to be trying to use him as a LOOGY most of the time.
Steve Delabar has been in 9 game too, He's pitched on consecutive days twice. He's topped out at 20 pitches too. He's had a couple of days off after the consecutive days both times. I don't think he's been worked overly hard, but then with his arm history, gentler might be better. He's been in 9 of 19, for 6.1 innings, which would be 77 games and 54 innings.
Sergio Santos has pitched in 8 games, he's thrown over 20 pitches 3 times (but then if he'd throw strikes.....). He's had 1 four out save, and, of course, his blowup game would have been a 5 out save. I don't really think he's been overused. 8 games, 6.1 innings (just like Delabar), would be 68 games and 54 innings.
Neil Wagner has a case for being overworked. He's pitched 4 times in the last 6 days. He threw 36 pitches over 2 innings in his first outing, when he was called up. He's been in 6 games since coming up from Buffalo.
Esmil Rogers has thrown a lot. He's been in 7 games but leads the bullpen with 10.1 innings. He's never pitched more than 2 innings in a game, but has gone 2 innings 3 times. 2 innings can be a lot of pitches if you aren't throwing strikes.
Todd Redmond has been the 'leave him out there until his arm falls off' guy. He's pitched in 5 games, and has throw 68, 59 and 39 pitches. He's pitched over 3 innings 3 times. He's only allowed 1 earned run, but, of course, that was in extra innings, so he is 0-1 on the season with a 0.68 ERA. 13.1 innings would work out to about 114 innings on the season. He's been terrific as the mop up guy, just 4 walks with 11 strikeouts. Hopefully we won't need a mop up man so much in the future.
J.A. Happ isn't overworked and none of us would really care if he was. It looks to me like Happ is Gibby's 'pitcher of last resort' in the pen.
So, I don't really see any particular pitcher that is overworked, Gibby's been good at balancing out the load, which isn't all that easy to do with 8 guys in the pen. As a group, yeah you'd like to see them throw fewer innings. I'd like to think that the starters will go deeper into games as the season goes on. We do have a rotation built around 3 guys that are coming off injuries. There really isn't much sense in having them go 120 pitches, just to test out how successful their surgeries were.