MLB: You Just Can’t Win Without A Good Bullpen… Really?


Apr 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) is congratulated by catcher Corky Miller (37) after earning a save against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY SportsThe Cincinnati Reds are tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for second-place in wins/winning percent in MLB At 33/.623. They both trail only division rival St. Louis Cardinals in that respect. That is something the National League Central can hang their collective hat on, at least for the time being.

With your permission, or without for that matter, I would like to venture deeper into the statistical forest and see what I can see.

In team pitching thus far, the Cardinals are leading everyone with a 3.07 ERA, closely followed by the Bucs at 3.19 and the Reds at 3.27. This particular statistic holds up for all of baseball, not just the National League.

Let us break it down farther. Starting pitchers for the Reds are collectively 21-10. Surprisingly, those 21 wins rank them second with the Colorado Rockies. Not so surprisingly is the fact that the Cards are on top with 30. That is 85.7 percent of the team’s victories being posted on the starter’s side of the ledger. Don’t you think that is the way the Baseball God’s intended it to be. The Reds’ starters cannot boast anything near that mark as their 63.6 percent pales in comparison.

Cincinnati’s starters have a combined BAA (did you just see a lamb?) of .245 which places them fourth in the senior circuit, behind, big surprise, the lowly Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies are followed by the Pirates and Cardinals. Chicago is leading MLB with an unbelievable BAA of .225.

The Cards are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the league lead in complete games with four. The Reds have only one which places them in seventh place.

The Cardinals’ starters have the most strikeouts in the league with 288. The Reds are second with .280.

In throwing balls that land in someone’s seat, the Cards have done that the fewest times as well. Only 17 gopher balls in 52 games, that is like one in every three games. HELLO. Can anyone see why they are alone at the top of the league?

This is not, I repeat, this is not an article to exalt the Cardinals. There is a method to my madness, sir.

The Reds fewer number of wins for their starting pitchers, means only a couple of things to me. The bullpen hasn’t finished their jobs properly or the offense let the starters down.

The highly-touted, much publicized bullpen of the Reds are nestled in the middle of the league with an ERA of 3.46. The Pirates lead the league at 2.72. St. Louis is all the way down to No. 13 with a bloated ernie of 4.26. It is no wonder the Cards’ starters wins are so high, they obviously stay in the game longer, for fear of implosions by the pen.

Cincinnati’s bullpen is holding its own in save percentages. The closers have saved 76 percent of their opportunities. They are in third behind the league leading Pirates and the San Francisco Giants. The Reds’ pen has given up more homers (19) than only three teams: the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets.

The Reds reliever’s are in second place in BAA with a .217 mark. The Cards are dead last at .278.

Cincinnati’s bullpen is your league leader with a K/9 ratio of 9.4, thanks Chappy for pulling us up by your bootstraps.

Now that I have filled your head to over-flowing with numbers I want to ask a question. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t win without a good bullpen?”

Tell that to the Cardinals. They are leading the world with AAA and AA starting pitching.

Don’t be afraid to call me out on this. Dusty said we could throw hands if you don’t like it.

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