When you turn on the MLB channel which has replaced ESPN as the go-to baseball channel at any point in the day you will quickly learn that the trend according to today’s baseball so-called experts is that the bullpen is now the key to having a winning team that will do well in the playoffs. The Cleveland Indians and Andrew Miller are a prime example they say. But Tom Verducci wrote a story for Sports Illustrated back in September of 1999 expounding on the virtues of relief pitchers.
The importance of the bullpen was not lost on managers back in 1999 either as this quote from then Texas Rangers skipper Johnny Oates attests –
“Getting from two outs in the sixth inning to the ninth inning is the most important part of the game,” Oates says. “That’s where you’ll win or lose the pennant. It’s even more important in the playoffs, when every run is magnified.”
I guess it just goes to show that what goes around comes back around but like everything else in life, the game of baseball is slow to learn from history.