Bullpens Off To Rough Start In 09….

With a couple of exceptions like the Mets offseason blueprint working to perfection on Opening Day, the pitching out of the bullpen has been terrible so far in 2009. Blown leads, blown saves and overall just poor performances have managers reluctant to go to the pen late in the game. Let’s take a look at some of the bullpen disasters that have occurred in just 4 days of games….

Monday

Yankees vs Orioles

With the Orioles up 6-3, Chris Ray comes in and gives up a HR, a single, 1 walk and 2 runs in just 8 pitches. Score becomes 6-5 Orioles.

After the Yankees came all the back from a 6-1 deficit and made it 6-5, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney destroy any momentum they had by giving up 3 hits, 3 walks and 4 runs in just 2 innings.

Pirates vs Cardinals

With the Cardinals up 2-1 heading into the 9th, Jason Motte implodes in his 1st save opportunity. 1 inning, 4 hits, 4 runs and 1 blown save later, the Cardinals lose 4-2

Royals vs White Sox

It was all set up for the Royals. Gil Meche hurled 7 strong, give the ball to Farnsworth for the 8thand then close it out with Soria in the 9th. Things didn’t work out that way for the Royals. Farnsworth was terrible in the 8th inning. 4 hits and 1 giant Jim Thome 3 run HR gave the White Sox a 4-2 win.

Ryan blows a save

Ryan blows a save

Tuesday

Tigers vs Blue Jays

My lord is Brandon Lyon terrible. Lyon comes in trying to protect a 3-1 lead and the first batter he faces, Aaron Hill tags him for a 3 run HR. 4-3 Blue Jays.

After Aaron Hill gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead, Cito Gaston called on BJ Ryan to close out the game. Ryan, who looked like he was throwing the ball 50 mph gave up a massive HR to Brandon Inge. Game tied 4-4

Blue Jay fans didn’t need to worry because for some odd reason Lyon is still in the game. The Blue Jays go on to beat Lyon and win the game, 5-4.

Rays vs Red Sox

Josh Beckett looked like a man possessed for 7 innings on Tuesday. Francona then went to Okajima and Okajima promptly hits the first batter he sees and walks the next. 2 batters later it is 5-3 Red Sox.

Mariners vs Twins

I have no idea what happened to Brandon Morrow. With the Mariners up 5-3 in the 9th inning, Morrow retired the 1st 2 batters with ease. Then all of a sudden he lost it. Morrow walked 3 straight batters to walk the bases loaded. Miguel Batista came in, gave up 2 singles and the game was over. 6-5 Twins.

Yesterday

Braves vs Phillies

This was the mother of all bullpen disasters. The Braves were up 10-3 in the 7th inning!!!! In a spectacular performance Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan and Blaine Boyer gave up 3 hits, 4 walks and 8 runs in just 1/3 of an inning. What a clown show by those 3.

A’s vs Angels

The usually reliable Angels bullpen imploded yesterday. After Nick Adenhart pitched 6 marvelous innings in which he didn’t allow a run, the Angels bullpen allowed 6 runs in the final 3 innings. New Angels closer, Brian Fuentes allowed 4 hits, 1 walk and 3 earned runs in the 9th to take the loss. Here is what I wrote about Fuentes in my “Key Players On Each MLB Team” post…”I always viewed Fuentes as a nice lefty set-up guy rather than a Closer for a team trying to win a World Series. For those who argue Fuentes was on the Rockies team that made it to the World Series in 07. Remember, he lost the Closer’s job to Manny Corpas during that season and he wasn’t even the Closer when the season began last year. Fuentes will have a lot of pressure on him to replace the departed Francisco Rodriguez. If he can’t handle the pressure, the Angels will have to scramble to find a Closer.” Let’s see how Fuentes handles the pressure now that he has blown a save just 3 games into the season.

As you can see this has been a rough week for the bullpens so far. There is nothing more demoralizing to a team than a blown lead late in the game. Let’s see how how these teams and bullpens bounce back in the weeks to come.

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