The D Backs bullpen has been phenomenal, as we all know. And if you look at Total Games and Innings pitched in relief , and especially Total Batters Faced on the TEAM level, the work load does not look bad at all, and in fact less than most teams.
However on an individual level, the number of games appeared in is very high for this core group of relievers. Other than a game from Koch, and 2 from Bracho, all of the relief innings have been pitched by the same 7 guys who were on the opening day roster. Check out the games and innings to date, and the 162 game pace
|YTD||162 G Pace|
|Jorge De La Rosa*||13||9.3||73||52|
At some point, they are going to have to find a way to ease off on the number of games pitched, especially Archie. Don't forget, it's not just the pitches you throw when you are in the game, you also have to warm up.
Just to put this into great perspective and context, The D Backs have 6 relievers on pace for 73 or more games. In the last 10 years, there have been only 3 Team Seasons out 300, 1%, where a team even had 4 relievers with 73 or games. Clearly getting through a season with the same 7 relievers isn't happening.
So the work load is going to have to be spread around, as the current pace is not sustainable.
NONE of this is a critique of Torey Lovullo. He has done great spreading the workload around among these guys, as you can see. And it's not unusual to see this kind of distribution at this stage of the season. But at some point someone besides Bracho is going to have to come up and take on some outings and innings. It's simply going to have to happen. So the purpose of this post is to kick start a conversation about what that might look like.
Which pitchers should be highest on the depth chart ?
How should the D Backs work them in ?
Creative use of the 10 Day DL ?
On a side note, one complication on the immediate Horizon: The team is already down to 12 pitchers, (some teams carry 13 when they can), and Souza and Lamb will be back soon. They won't be able to just cut down to 11 pitchers, obviously. So there is an impact to the position player roster as well. Who is the second guy to be sent back down ? (I assume Christian Walker is the first). The second position player that has to be removed from the roster after Walker to make way for either Lamb or Souza can also be considered a victim of the bullpen crunch, as the team just can't carry only 11 pitchers with the above workload distribution.