It’s Bullpen Day, everyone! Hooray for Bullpen Day! No, it’s not the middle of August when starters need a rest. We’re in the playoffs. You read that right. First the Oakland A’s and now the Milwaukee Brewers, are starting relievers in a playoff game. I, for one, am not a fan of this trend. And before we get to the ‘old guys don’t like change’ accusations, it’s more along the lines of us old guys prefer common sense.
I understand the need for teams to do this during the season. I get that the season is long, summer is hot, and 1 game out of 162 usually doesn’t matter as much in the grand scheme of things. But the Brewers, fresh off Game 163 because every game DID mean something, are starting a reliever today in Game 1 of the NLDS. Ok, he started 4 games this year, but are they really handing the ball to Brandon Woodruff? Yes, they are. Now, nothing against Woodruff, he had a solid season. All 19 games of it. And granted, the Brewers are a better team than the Rockies. But I sure as hell wouldn’t send anyone but my best starter available to face Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, and Trevor Story. No way.
The game has changed over the years, all sports do. I grew up watching pitchers who were simply more durable. I remember Andy Hawkins losing a no-hitter in the 12th inning. I remember Wilbur Wood starting both games of a doubleheader. Jack Morris went into extra innings in the postseason. You won’t see that anymore. Their precious arms need wrapped and babied. I know, I know, they’re throwing harder and their arms are under more stress with all the different breaking balls these days. But at what point do we stop calling it progress and start leaning towards regression when it comes to the quality of play?
It may very well work out for the Brewers today. I hope, for the sake of their fans, that it does. It just seems risky to start a 5 game series like this. If it’s a 7 game series and you’re up 2-0, by all means roll the dice and give an extra day’s rest to your starters. But not in Game 1. Never in Game 1.
However today’s game turns out, this does promise to be an exciting series. I love what the Colorado Rockies bring on offense. The Brewers bring some bats of their own, featuring a lineup that has, undoubtedly, the National League MVP Christian Yelich. If the Brewers pull this one out today, consider this rant irrelevant, if you wish. But I’ll still never be a fan of these Bullpen Days except under extreme and/or very comfortable conditions. You know, like a 2-0 lead in a 7 game series. But maybe that’s just me. In the meantime………….