Much has been made of the workload of the bullpen lately. Even Jerry Manuel has admitted to overuse.
“I've probably, to a fault, used them too much,” Manuel told David Lennon. “What I have to do is probably trust the other people I have down there. If I'm not trusting them, then I should find someone else.”
Selecting the six main members of the bullpen, I took a look at games pitched in, innings pitched and pitches thrown. No surprise Pedro Feliciano leads the way in games pitched in, but look who has thrown the most innings and pitches.
K-Rod is sitting at 4.19 pitches/plate appearance through 139 plate appearances. His highest in his career is 4.20 P/PA, when he faced 285 batters and threw 1,198 pitches in 2007. He’s faced as many as 335 batters and thrown 1,352 pitches, both coming in 2004. At least he’s somewhat used to it.
We’ve also seen Bobby Parnell’s season hit the skids lately. He’s allowed six earned runs in his last four innings pitched, sporting a 13.50 ERA over those six games.
The answer to all of this bullpen usage is simple. The Mets need to get longer outings out of their starters. For that to actually happen, isn’t so simple.
We, as fans, don’t want to see repeats of 2007 and 2008 with the bullpen falling apart late in the game and late in the season. Hopefully something changes before 2009 gets added to the list.