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Funny how things work. The club installs Field Turf, and we guess that the major effect will be to slow down balls in the outfield causing fewer triples. It might end up that way, but right now the Jays are 2nd in the majors in triples. Reed Johnson's leadoff triple set the tone in last night's game.

Did I mention that the Jays swept the Sox? Blew them away. Easily. It's chest-thumping time.

So, on to the bullpen. Last night, Pete Walker did an excellent job of closing things out in the blowout, but then he's been doing that all season.

Here's the bullpen chart for the last 2 weeks:

May 13-26

(entrance inning/batters faced/opp. GPA)

date Batista  Speier   Frasor   Downs     Schoen      Chulk      Walker
Ma 13         1.2/4             3.0/8     6.2/5       5.0/7
              .000              .300      .140        .264
Ma 14                  6.0/5              7.0/3                   2.1/13
                       .430               .000                    .092
Ma 15 7.2/6
Ma 16-------------------day off---------------------------

Ma 17         8.0/3    7.2/1              6.2/5       5.0/8
              .000     .000               .180        .347
Ma 18-------------------Bush's complete game--------------

Ma 19 7.0/3            5.0/4    6.0/3    
      .000             .350     .233
Ma 20                                                             6.0/10
Ma 21         8.0/3                       7.0/3
	      .000                        .000
Ma 22 8.0/5            7.0/4    4.1/6                 5.2/9
      .140             .175     .200                  .464
Ma 23-------------------day-off--------------------------------------

Ma 24 7.2/5            6.2/4    3.0/14    7.1/1
      .090             .475     .204      .000
Ma 25         8.0/3                                   6.2/4
              .000                                    .000
Ma 26                                                             6.0/10

What is immediately noticeable about this chart is the even distribution of the work. Pete Walker had 3 long appearances over the 2 weeks, while every other member of the 7 man bullpen had 4 or 5 appearances. The bullpen performed very well overall, with only Frasor and Chulk struggling to some degree.

The even distribution of work seemed to particularly benefit Schoeneweis who pitched less often and more effectively than previously. So far, John Gibbons has managed to integrate Scott Downs into the bullpen scheme more easily than Matt Whiteside, and Schoeneweis has been the prime beneficiary. The prospect for further modest improvement on the part of all members of the pen on account of the stabilization of workloads is reasonably good.

So, how is the bullpen doing overall? Here are some basic statistics courtesy of The Hardball Times, through May 22:

pitcher        IP          FIP (2004)    ERA

Batista        19.0        3.31 (5.17)   1.89
Frasor         18.1        4.68 (4.13)   3.44
Chulk          21.2        4.78 (4.61)   4.15
Schoeneweis    14.2        5.12 (5.41)   4.91
Speier         13.2        5.48 (4.59)   4.61
Walker         22.1        3.97          1.61
Downs           4.1        5.52          2.08

Wow, the defence behind the bullpen has been very good. It is probably not reasonable to expect the defence to continue to perform so well; the bullpen ERAs (especially Batista's and Walker's) are likely to rise modestly, even if the FIPs decline modestly, as I think they will.

All in all, the bullpen is almost exactly where I had hoped it would be. There are no real stars, and the bullpen is not on its own taking the team forward, but it is solid and improving.

Jay 8 Red Sox 1- Bullpen Report v.4 | 47 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Joe - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 12:15 AM EDT (#117844) #
Wow. Speier has been lights-out (and on lots of rest, generally). In fact, there's nobody really ineffective detailed in that bullpen report. Impressive.

Pistol - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#117857) #
Speier has only allowed one baserunner and no runs in May, over 6.3 innings. I think Speier can be used more as a setup man again instead of taking late innings in blowouts.

On the other hand Chulk has been struggling a bit lately.

So at one time either Chulk or Speier have been really good this year.
Flex - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#117859) #
I would like to see Speier and Chulk switch roles for the time being. It seems to be a confidence thing with Chulk, and if he could get on a bit of a roll in less pressurized situations, it might help.

Speier seems to be a generally slow starter, and now he's getting into his groove time.

And looking ahead to tonight, if Towers pitches another good game, as I expect him too, I would hope the general notion of him as a fifth-starter constantly playing to keep his job will abate. Kid's a good pitcher, period. And he's acheived far more than Dave Bush, who has somehow been awarded the No. 3 starter label based on poise and potential. It's time Towers got some respect. Santana got blown out the last time he pitched against us anyone start suggesting he's one of those "either he's on or he's really off" pitchers? No.

The conversation about pitching talent can't always revolve around "stuff." If it was always about "stuff" (to quote no one in particular) then we would never have had Greg Maddux.

Phew. Off-topic rants are hard work.
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#117860) #
This bullpen needs a NICKNAME, people!

It hasn't reached vaunted "Nasty Boys" status yet, of course, but the '80 Reds are a fine comparison in that it had a nominal closer (Randy Myers, who even made the All-Star team) but no star and a whole bunch of effective contributors -- Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton, Tim Layana, Tim Birtsas, Chris Hammond (!) even Rick Mahler. And the '90 Reds had no business contending and yet won the whole damn thing, thanks in large part to the 'pen.

I am now taking nominations for such nickname, and as Mike D. did with the Splashy Headline Contest earlier, will post the top five or six candidates at some point next week ... maybe we can even get Friend of Batter's Box Jamie Campbell to use the nickname on the air! (No promises, obviously.)

Post your suggestion and explain it -- but rememeber, if it requires too much explanation, the nickname sucks.

Somebody do something with the initials and we can have WAMCO II?

Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#117861) #
Sorry, typo above, of course I meant the '90 Reds, not the '80 Reds, who had Tom Hume and Doug Bair, and finished third at 89-73. That wouldn't be so bad, tho.
baagcur - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#117862) #
I think you could argue that Walker has been a star. His current VORP of 11.8 is the 4th highest figure for relievers in the majors.
Pistol - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#117863) #
VORP, for your viewing pleasure. This is just the current 25 man roster, plus Cat.
NAME                   VORP
Roy Halladay           24.1
Gustavo Chacin         14.6
Josh Towers             9.3
David Bush              2.8
Ted Lilly              -8.5
Pete Walker            11.8
Vinny Chulk             4.4
Miguel Batista          5.7
Jason Frasor            2.9
Scott Schoeneweis      -1.6
Justin Speier           1.2
Scott Downs             2.0

NAME                   VORP
Shea Hillenbrand       16.2
Vernon Wells            0.1
Orlando Hudson          2.6
Alexis Rios             4.6
Eric Hinske            11.7
Corey Koskie            3.8
Frank Catalanotto       1.7
Gregg Zaun             11.4
Russ Adams              6.2
Reed Johnson            8.4
Frank Menechino        -0.2
John McDonald           3.8
Ken Huckaby            -3.9
Aaron Hill              4.6
Gabe Gross             -2.1
Blue in SK - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#117864) #
I don't think Walker's contribution can be understated. He has allowed Gibbons to use the rest of the bullpen in a more effective way by pitching 2 or 3 strong innings. He holds down the fort and the other pen members don't have to warm up, conserving their energy for the next days. 2 saves, pitching 3 innings to earn them reminds me of the days of Dennis Lamp or Mark Eichorn.
Mike Green - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#117865) #
VORP has got some issues, at least with respect to relief pitchers. As of May 22, Walker had thrown 22 low-leverage innings, walked 4.2 per 9IP and struck out 5.5 per 9IP. The DER behind him has been a superb .742 despite him surrendering a complete average number of line drives and pop-ups. He has avoided the long-ball well, but otherwise he's in truth been a totally average pitcher. That's a very good thing from a long-man, but he hasn't really been a star.
GrrBear - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#117866) #
Concerning the triples - it was my impression that at least some of those triples happened because balls to the gap hit the new shiny scoreboards and just died. The poor outfielders, who were waiting for a bounce-back that never came, then had to run to the wall to pick up the ball. Also, since the Damon incident on Opening Day, I haven't seen too many outfielders go near those scoreboards, possibly out of concern for their personal well-being.

It might take a little while for that new quirk to make its way around the league, but in the meantime, I hope the Jays continue to take advantage.
Pistol - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#117867) #
I think the triples are simply the Jays having fast players that are hitting the ball in the gap. Rios has 5, and Hudson, Johnson, Adams, & Hill each have 2.
Dave Till - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#117868) #
It is probably not reasonable to expect the defence to continue to perform so well

I respectfully disagree: I believe that the Jays' good team defence is the main reason why the Jays' pitching is so much better this year. As many people have written, the difference between top-level pitching and league-average pitching is about a hit per game; a defence that saves about a hit per game turns an average pitching staff into a good pitching staff.

At present, I would rate Cat below average defensively (though not awful), Adams average, Hill unproven (though at least average), and everybody else (Sparky, Wells, Rios, Hillenbrand, Koskie, Hudson, Hinske, Zaun, McDonald, Huckaby) above average. It's got to be a huge confidence boost for a pitcher to see the O-Dog range all over the right side of the infield to corral ground balls.

Craig B - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#117872) #
Did I mention that the Jays swept the Sox? Blew them away. Easily. It's chest-thumping time.

No! It's easily the worst time to be complacent or arrogant about the Jays' position. Gotta look forward, not back, because the job isn't done yet.

The upcoming series is against the Twins, one of the elite teams in the American League and who just finished beating the Jays two out of three. They're frankly a better 25 men right now than the Red Sox, and giving back the wins will put the Jays right back where they were before the Boston series - unproven.

What's worse is, they face the Cy Young holder in Game 1, and then two guys who absolutely owned them just ten days ago. The Jays couldn't even scratch Lohse or Mays in Minneapolis, that's gotta change this time or they're likely to be back in third place again when the series is done.

After this series, there's a two-week West Coast trip that's as easy as one of those ever gets (Seattle, four in Oakland, Chicago Cubs, Houston), and a chance to make a move on first place with it. Play these next sixteen games over .500, and I think we can inaugurate the Blue Jays Playoff Bandwagon, 2005 version.

Mike Green - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#117873) #
Maybe I should have been clearer. It is reasonable to expect the defence to continue to be above average, but the bullpen has benefitted more than the rotation has, and this part is likely to change. Ted Lilly, like Ligtenberg last year, has pitched poorly overall but nowhere near as poorly as his ERA would suggest.

What I am saying is that we can expect Lilly's ERA to go way down, and Batista's and Walker's to rise somewhat. If that happens, it should not be taken that Batista and Walker are pitching poorly, but simply that the good fortune that they have had early in the season has not continued.
Ryan C - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#117881) #
Somebody do something with the initials and we can have WAMCO II?

Hmm kind of tough when none of the guys first or last names start with vowels. WBSCSFD? Howbout not just initials? Chubatwalk Speschofradow? Wasnt he a character in the newest star wars movie?

Jonny German - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#117885) #
No! It's easily the worst time to be complacent or arrogant about the Jays' position. Gotta look forward, not back, because the job isn't done yet.

Meh. I agree that the time to start wondering if this is a Cinderella team will be if they're sitting pretty after the west coast swing. But for another couple hours, I'm going to enjoy chuckling about "the world champs". 23 runs in 3 games. Ha! Swept away without even facing the ace. Ha!

Magpie - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#117886) #
I am very impressed with how Gibbons has handled the relief corps. He's been able to find work for everybody - he hasn't ridden the hot hand into the ground, while other guys just get buried. He's resisted the temptation to take Walker out of a role that he's filling very well. He has three more or less interchangeable RH relievers in Chulk, Speier, and Frasor, and has found three more or less interchangeable roles - high leverage set-up, middle leverage set-up, and low leverage occasions for whichever one of the three is struggling. The three of them can all drift from one role to the other depending on how well they're pitching, and still get the work they need to stay sharp or sort out their problems.

It's taken Gibbons a little time to get in tune with how Schoeneweis can best be utilized - he's the new guy from another organization - but he seems to be sorting that out as well. I'm very pleased, for the most part. I have occasionally thought his hook came out a little quickly with the starter - but if you have seven relievers, and a starter who's scuffling, the quick hook makes a certain amount of sense as well.

rtcaino - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#117888) #
A nickname, which is not the 'Nasty Boys' eh? How about...

The Rockers
The Legion of Doom
The Bush Whackers
The Hart Foundation
And probably the worst bullpen nickname option of all former WWF tag team champions: The Natural Disasters

I seem to recall Wilner speculating that the Jays would use Speier in mostly low leverage situations until he gained back some confidence after his slow start. It seems that Speier is just about back to his old self and should see some more meaningful action soon.

Named For Hank - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#117891) #
Meh. I agree that the time to start wondering if this is a Cinderella team will be if they're sitting pretty after the west coast swing.

No! No! The time is now! Fire up your mighty confidence vibes and channel them all towards the team! They just massacred the defending World Champions! And this Cy Young defender they're facing tonight: didn't they score seven runs on him just last week? They're on a mighty roll, and the only things that can halt it are your doubt and fear and insecurity.

I had hope before the season started, but now I believe.

Mike Green - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#117893) #
Ah, the irrational heart of a fan. Last night, I was thinking about roster composition for playoff purposes. While a 7 man bullpen is arguably a poor use of resources during the regular season, it is complete lunacy during the playoffs due to the off-days. So, there I was ruminating on what roster changes the Jays might be making towards the end of August to prepare themselves just in case.

If I am thinking that way, just maybe we'll see much larger crowds at the Rogers Centre this weekend.
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#117894) #
The Bush Whackers? Dave might not take too kindly to that. And anything with "Hart" in it would be better suited to the Texas Rangers!
Bid - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#117897) #
No vowels in the bullpen, eh? How about Al Capp's Joe Bfstplk as inspiration? The little guy towing his own black cloud, coming in to rain down on the rally...a bullpen called Joe.
Mike Green - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#117898) #
Workmanlike, this bullpen crew puts out fires efficiently. TFD for Toronto Fire Department?
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#117899) #
The somewhat disagreeable boys!
Stellers Jay - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#117900) #
I bought my tickets for Monday's game in Seattle this morning. Very pumped because this is the first Jays game I have seen in person in like 15 years. The only game I have ever seen was an exhibition game played at BC Place in the early 90's. For those of you who have never had the misfortune of watching baseball in BC Place, it makes the Metrodome seem like Yankee Stadium. Have a good weekend and hopefully the Ted Lilly of Late May shows up in Seattle on Monday.
sweat - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#117901) #
Last time I was in Seattle, I took in a game. Its a great place to watch a baseball game.
Jobu - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#117902) #
As always the simpsons will show us the way. I present this possible conversation in the bullpen stolen from a fine episode:

Vinnie: Oh man, what a start to the season. Things are going great for the Chulk Crew.

Strikey: Hey, I thought we were called Miggy and the Jets?

Speier: Eh, you're both wrong... we're the Justin Speier Experience featuring Pete Walker.

Vinnie: Uh, I like the sound of that.

Pete: Friends forever?

All: Friends forever!
jgadfly - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#117903) #
RE: whistling by the graveyard
the BJ's have been really quite frustrating in that they have been performing better than we had hoped BUT they aren't all that far from playing way beyond our expectations...just when they have an opportunity to finish things off and make a major breakthrough they fail to take the next step (eg. winning series but not sweeping...great road trip (come from behind win over Boston)and then coming home and being swept by the Orioles...great games vs Washington but not sweeping) ...and they have done this without Vernon and Lilly playing up to their expected levels and more recently with Zaun and Koskie on the DL... hopefully by sweeping Boston the J's learned that they can play better and take that next step...confidence is such a difficult and elusive attribute to build in an individual and even moreso for a team but they are getting there faster than we hoped...the recent boost of Aaron Hill replacing Koskie (injured in a pivotal series game in which the J's again went flat after smearing CY Santana) has reminded them that they have the wherewithall and bench/farmsystem to weather the injuries and that by july/august more pitching will be available if the need arises...needless to say in their sweep of the Red Sox they have passed the graveyard and rounded a proverbial corner may just take them awhile to adjust to being on this new street ...GO JAYS
Named For Hank - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#117904) #
I just finally saw the highlights from last night -- Aaron Hill's slide into home on Adams' double was just spectacular. Wow.

By the way, some more about how fan fears and insecurity can weigh a team down: how are those Red Sox doing right now?
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#117909) #
Frasor, League, Schoenweis, Speier, Batista, Chulk ... FLSSBC?

The best I can come up with there is "Flashback."
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#117910) #
Then again, FIRST names ...



That ALMOST spells "Blue Jays MVP."
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#117912) #
Obviously, "Josh" shouldn't be in there, but BJJS MVP works as well -- er, as poorly, anyway -- as the earlier version. Here are the top 5 candidates so far, listed frankly in my order of preference; keep 'em coming!

TFD: Toronto Fire Department
The Justin Speier Experience Featuring Pete Walker
Miggy and the Jets
The Legion of Doom

I wish I could get behind "The Justin Speier Experience Featuring Pete Walker" but it's too unwieldy for everyday use.
Gerry - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#117913) #
Bullpen name:

The Blanket Brigade
The Prozac Posse
Arny's Army
Gibby's Golden Arms
Waltons Warriors
Flex - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#117914) #
I don't see this group as very Legion of Doomish, frankly, But Miggy and the Jets I like a lot. Takes me back to my 1977 recroom.

Someone saved my game tonight....
Rob - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#117915) #
Miggy and the Jets is very good, as is Arny's Army. Either one I like.
Fawaz - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#117916) #
'Problem Solved'
'The Fat Ladies'
'The GO (Game Over) Train'
Magpie - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#117917) #
The GO Train! I like it.
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#117919) #
Arny's Army is awesome. Miggy and the Jets is unlike the Nasty Boys in that it highlights one guy and gives him an entourage, which may not be the case with this Jays group. But it does, as Flex inadvertantly points out, have the advantage of a possible theme song:

Hey kids, warm it up together
That lineup's hitting nothing
We're throwin' it by each batter
We'll kill the fatted Sox tonight
Fans, stick around
You're gonna hear electric music
Balls hit on the ground

Hey, Vinny and Jason, have you seen them yet
But they're so hyped up, Miggy and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Miggy he's really keen
He's got electric stuff to get you out***
You know I heard it on SportsNet
Miggy and the Jets

Hey kids, these are guys you can trust in
Maybe they're not nasty
But they/'re Brandon, Scott and Justin
Our bullpen will survive, sink or swim
Where we fight those others in the AL East
To find who loses and who wins

Miggy and the Jets
M-M-M-Miggy and the Jets (Miggy!)

***Canadian pronunciation "oot" not "owt"

Named For Hank - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#117920) #
I love the Game Over Train, but the Miggy and the Jets song is just way to good not to use.
rtcaino - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#117925) #
That song is very good. However, I give the nod to the GO Train. I pick GO Train for three main reasons. Firstly, the GO Train is an easily identifiable symbol for all of those in the GTA (red rocket is taken). Secondly, and as an extension of that first point, I'm 21, and thus I have had few experiences with Elton John in my basement (that doesn't sounds right). And lastly, Miggy's a FA at the end of the year. That would limit the shelf life of the name. Whereas GO Train can continue on for a few years when Brandon League is our bullpen ace.
jsoh - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#117926) #
And lastly, Miggy's a FA at the end of the year.

Errr. Didnt Batista sign a 3 year deal before last year? This would be year 2, so he'd be a FA at the end of next year.

NYJaysFan36 - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#117927) #
Arny's Army is cool because it really makes them sound like a close-knit group of equals. The fans by extension could be part of (or fans of) Arny's Army. Reminds me of Franco's Italian Army in Three Rivers Stadium in the 70's.
Mick Doherty - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#117929) #
Man, NY Jays Fan, I was trying to figure out how you had Johnny Franco in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, thinking you'd confused Three Rivers with the little lefty's 1985ish home in Riverfront Stadium, but didn't realize you'd teleported over to football for the reference!
Dave Till - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#117931) #
Toronto Fire Department is cool. So is Arny's Army.
BCMike - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#117933) #
Gibby's Guys
Jdog - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#117935) #
Miggy & The Get-Up Kids

The K Birds
Ryan C - Friday, May 27 2005 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#117943) #
Someone saved my game tonight....

I dont really like the "Miggy and the Jets" name, mostly because I dont think the name should unfairly highlight one individual over the others, but this line is just too good not to get special mention.

Jay 8 Red Sox 1- Bullpen Report v.4 | 47 comments | Create New Account
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