Going into this season, it was pretty easy to figure out what the order should have been:
- Fernando Rodney’s the closer
- Danny Farquhar is the 8th inning guy
- Yoervis Medina is next
- Then, the rest: Beimel, Leone, Furbush, Wilhelmsen
But, that’s not the way Lloyd decided to play it. He took arguably our worst reliever – Wilhelmsen – and gave him the majority of the high leverage situations. 8th innings, entering the game with men already on base, and so on. Yoervis Medina was also used quite a bit, as sort of a lead-in to Wilhelmsen. And Farquhar was mostly reserved for mop-up, long relief, and extra innings.
Suffice it to say, this type of thinking was flat out wrong. It appears that Lloyd is starting to come around in his thinking, but that doesn’t bring back those defeats we’ve already suffered. The Mariners are finally back to .500, but if we’d only used the bullpen more effectively, we’d likely be a few games over. Here’s a look back:
Game 4 – @ Oakland. We had a 2-1 lead going into the 8th inning. We were six outs away from giving Roenis Elias a win in his first-ever Major League start. Medina got us into the 7th, Furbush got us into the 8th. Then, they left Furbush in there to start the 8th, he walked the first batter, and Wilhelmsen was brought in. Wilhelmsen walked a batter, got two outs, and then gave up a triple to tie it. He eventually got out of the inning with the tie intact, but the Mariners would go on to lose it in the 12th. Had they used Farquhar in the 8th, who knows?
Game 18 – @ Miami. Again, we were up 2-1 going into the 8th. Leone & Beimel got us through six, with Farquhar coming into the seventh. He was given three batters to face (got two of them out), then pulled for Furbush. Furbush was allowed to start the 8th, let a runner on, then pulled for Wilhelmsen. Once again, Wilhelmsen let the tying run score. This time, however, he let the go-ahead run score as well. If it were up to me, I would have just let Farquhar go two innings before letting the combination of Furbush & Wilhelmsen pitch in the 8th.
Game 23 – vs. Texas. This time, we were tied going into the 8th. Once again, though, Charlie Furbush is trotted out there. He faces one batter, lets him on base, and that runner ends up scoring the go-ahead run. Farquhar wasn’t put into the game until there were already two outs in the 9th and the Rangers’ lead ballooned to 3 runs.
Game 27 – @ Houston. 4-3 lead, going into the 8th. Yoervis Medina was brought in. He coughed up the tying run. Farquhar was brought in & pitched the next two innings of scoreless ball as this one eventually went 11 innings. Charlie Furbush took this one on the chin in the bottom of the 11th, generating no outs. Probably should have had Farquhar in there for the 8th, but what do I know?
Again, it’s only four games – and even if the bullpen WAS used properly, there’s no certainty that we win those four games – but I bet we win at least two. Maybe even three! It also doesn’t get into the games where poor bullpen usage ended up rewarding the manager by doing their jobs.
KYP: Know Your Personnel. There’s a reason why Wilhelmsen lost his closer’s job last year to Danny Farquhar. I mean, for Christ’s sake, Wilhelmsen’s spring training numbers were even VASTLY inferior! What the hell has Lloyd McClendon been thinking? Stop trying to out-smart yourself and just play the best fucking players!