Yes, another in the continuing Gillette Confidence post series. I am confident that I'm going to slash my wrists by the end of the campaign, but I will use a Gillette razor, so all is good.
My plan for this week was to talk about the confidence I have in our bullpen, then, the other day, our relievers walked 56 guys in a row (I'm going by memory, I could look it up but reading about that game gets me fingering my Gillette razor). It shook my confidence in them for a moment or two but every bullpen, no matter how good, will mess up now and then.
I understand the team DFAing David Purcey. There is a lot of potential in his left arm, but I can not imagine how John Farrell could put him into any game after that last one. You can have all the potential in the world, but if the manager can't trust you enough to put you into a game, it will never come out. Watching him this spring I didn't figure Farrell would want to go to him in any high leverage spot. But if you can't go to him when you are up by 6 in the 8th inning, you are never going to use him. Even with 7 guys in the pen, if you pitching a lot of relief innings in a short stretch, the 7th guy might be needed in a important spot.
The other guys in the pen, I trust. It seems that John Farrell is happy to use any of them in big spots:
- Octavio Dotel: Dotel did walk a couple of players in that game but I still have faith in him. He wasn't getting close calls by the plate umpire and I also wonder if he was fully warmed up when he went in. Purcey was terrible. I'm sure Farrell just wanted him out of there. It was also against two lefty batters. I can't get on Farrell for that, we had a big lead, our pen was tired, I'm sure he only wanted to have one pitcher up in the pen at a time. I'm sure, normally, Farrell would want to bring him in to face right-handers, but that game he just wanted to get through the last 6 outs without burning all his arms. It didn't work.
- Marc Rzepczynski: He did give up a walk and hit that game. But the hit was a ground ball, that he was hoping to get to get a double play and get us out of the inning. It just missed the fielders, that's going to happen sometimes. Other than that one game he has been amazing so far. In total he has pitched 7.2 innings and given up just 2 hits and 3 walks. If he keeps pitching like that we'll be forgetting Scott Downs. I like him as a starter but with all the starters we have, and the ones coming up in our system, giving him a important role in the pen seems like a good plan.
- Carlos Villanueva: He has pitched 6.2 innings and allowed just 1 hit. The 4 walks isn't great but he has struck out 9. Add that to a great spring and I'd have no concerns bringing him into any spot. He will have some bad innings, but he has turned out to be a pretty good cash pickup.
- Shawn Camp: Gave up a couple of hits in the 9th of that game, but then got the double play ball to get them out of the 8th. There really wasn't anything all that different about the ground ball he got and the one Scrabble got that turned out to be a hit, Camps just was close enough to an infielder to get a DP. I would have pulled him in the 9th after he gave up the first hit, but Farrell had to worry about running out of pitchers. Camp won't get strikeouts, which cost us on the game winning hit, but he gets ground balls and most of them will be turned into outs. And he seems to have a rubber arm, he can go out there day after day.
- Jason Frasor: Another that can pitch in any spot. 5.1 innings into his season, he has given up 4 hits and 1 walk, unfortunately one of the hits was a HR. He has also struck out 9.
- Casey Janssen: Was great last year, even though he didn't seem to be one of Cito's favorites. I was really sad when he was send down, but he's back now. He'll be great.
- Jon Rauch: He hasn't been terrific, but he does have 2 saves. 5.2 innings, 6 hits, 1 HR, 2 walks, 4 k. I don't think he's going to be the lights out closer we'd like but he can keep the spot warm until Frank Francisco is ready to take it back.
Let us know how confident you are in our bullpen. And remember, I don't always shave, but when I do, I prefer a Gillette razor. I'm the least interesting man in the world.