I mentioned this in the recaps, but it’s worth a standalone mention: Bruce Bochy went sorta nuts with his bullpen last night.
He used ten pitchers in all, even though he got six innings from starter Jake Peavy. After that Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Michael Broadway, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla all made appearances. Only Osich threw as many as 20 pitches. Only Romo and Kontos otherwise threw double-digit pitches. Five of the nine relievers faced just one batter. Affeldt threw two pitches. Lopez came in only to issue an intentional walk.
The scary part? Bochy has 14 relievers at his disposal right now, so he could’ve been even crazier with it.
Perhaps this is all a function of the Giants being in a close game they had to win (though they didn’t win it). But it doesn’t go crazy like this without September’s expanded rosters. Without them, Bochy and the Giants would have made different decisions and would’ve had to rise or fall based on a regular-looking baseball team, just like they did from April through August. We should want teams still nominally in a playoff race to have to play regular baseball, not this sort of musical chairs nonsense.
As I and many others have suggested on a number of occasions, baseball needs to change the expanded roster rules. If teams must be allowed to look at 15 more players in September than they do all year, only allow them to use a couple of them in any given game. Expand the rosters to 40, sure, but make sure that, say, only 27 can used in any given contest. Or 30. I don’t know. I’d prefer just 25, but I’ll allow for some leeway here.
Just don’t make fans have to sit through nine pitching changes in a nine inning game. That’s just awful.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.