I come to praise Bryan Price’s management of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, not to bury it.
But the Reds manager got bit by his hybrid bullpen approach Friday night against Chicago.
With Raisel Iglesias having thrown 33 pitches the night before and Tony Cingrani on the DL, Price went into the night a bit short-handed, at least as far as guys who have pitched in high-leverage situations.
He got what he needed from Drew Storen in the seventh, but Michael Lorenzen didn’t quite have it. That’s a pretty bad thing against a lineup like the Cubs.
Over 162 games, these things happen. I think he was right to stick with Lorenzen given how good he has been overall.
I prefer this to the general over-management of bullpens prevalent over the past 30 years or so, but it is an example of the flip side of the hybrid BP coin.
While following Tony La Russa’s lead into specialization hell has led many managers to save their best pitchers until it’s too late or take out a guy who’s got it going just because that’s what the defined roles in the ‘pen say to do, Price has been successful by ignoring the ways of Bash Brothers’ manager and following the Beastie Boys instead.
Let it flow, let yourself go.
Use your best as soon as you need them. Ride a hit hand whenever you can. See where the chips fall.
If everyone were available Friday night, I doubt he sticks with Lorenzen for a second inning after the way he looked in his first. But they weren’t, and Lorenzen is still a strong option even when he isn’t at the top of his game. And the Cubs lineup is still the Cubs lineup.
Overall through three weeks, thinking outside the box been good to Price. This time it left him more limited than the “traditional” TLR model might have (although Iglesias may still have been burned and Cingrani would still have been hurt).
Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.
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