erik lundegaard

Sunday November 06, 2022

Do Bullpens Make Baseball Boring? A Modest Proposal After Astros Win World Series

It's November 6 and Major League Baseball葉he summer game容nded last night. And not because of some 9/11-like conflagration delaying games but by design. This was the plan. Let's play until nearly the second week of November and see how it all turns out. Somehow it all turned out. Global warming helped. Maybe that's the thinking in MLB front offices擁f there's thinking in MLB front offices葉hat they can keep pushing the season later and later because, you know, the world is ending. I'm in New York City right now and it's been in the 60s and 70s all week. The low last night was 65. In New York. In November. You know darkest before dawn? This is nicest before doom.

The 2022 baseball season was won by the Houston Astros, the best team in the American League, who beat the Philadelphia Phillies, the sixth-best team in the National League, four games to two. Many of the games were routs. In Game 3, the Phillies hit homeruns at will and shut out the Astros to go up 2 games to 1. In Game 4, Cristian Javier and three Astros relievers no-hit the Phillies to tie the series. I half-expected the Phillies to up it to a perfect game but the rest played out inevitably. In Game 5, Astros went up 3-1, Phils got it close, 3-2, Astros bullpen shut them down. In Game 6, Phils went up 1-0 on a Kyle Schwarber bomb, Astros answered with a 3-run bomb from the no-longer somnabulent Yordan Alvarez (450 feet to dead center), they tacked on another, Astros bullpen shut them down. Game, set, match.

It was kind of boring, to be honest. Are bullpens becoming a problem? All these no-name, ungodly relievers in late innings shutting them down 1-2-3? Joe Posnanski is worried about it. He misses the drama of starting pitching. Your Bob Gibsons and Jack Morrises and Madison Baumgarners going 9. But what are you gonna do?

Here's my solution: play every day. Like you do in the regular season. No off days during the postseason. Or at least no off days during postseason series. You play 3-5 in a row or 4-7 in a row.Game 5 was in Philly on Thursday night? Play Friday in Houston for Game 6. No travel days. No off days. I think it solves a host of MLB's problems:

  • Dancing with those that brung you. You gotta use the whole team. You can't keep going to the same terminators over and over again. Or if you do, you tire them out. They're no longer terminators.
  • Which means the regular season has more meaning. It's not a 162-game marathon to eliminate half the teams and then a sprint to the finish. The whole-team qualities that allowed you to succeed in the regular season will help you in the post, too. It will feel less like two different sports masquerading as one.
  • Without all the off-days, you might finish the season before the second week of November.

It feels like an easy solution to me so I doubt they'll do it.

Posted at 05:52 AM on Sunday November 06, 2022 in category Baseball  
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