Sometimes a relief appearance is more about soaking up innings than actually preventing runs, which Tom Gorzelanny found out the hard way last night.
Gorzelanny entered the game in the sixth inning following an abbreviated Edwin Jackson start and the first seven Astros batters he faced went single, fielder’s choice, single, single, single, single, double.
At that point a 5-4 deficit had grown to a 10-4 deficit and the game was all but over despite the fact that Gorzelanny had recorded just one out, but instead of removing him from the mess manager Davey Johnson left him in.
And then afterward he explained the move to Gene Wang of the Washington Post:
Bullpen’s been pretty taxed pretty much all year. It wasn’t the case where I was going to throw the kitchen sink at them trying to win that ballgame. I want to go into the division series against Miami without an overburdened pen so Gorzo kind of hand to take it on the chin. That happens in this game.
Gorzelanny escaped the inning without further damage and then allowed “only” one more run in the next frame, so he avoided ruining his ERA for the entire season and simply saw it grow from 0.00 to 7.36 in the span of 46 pitches.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.