Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 20, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

We’re just about six weeks away from the MLB trade deadline and it seems clear that the one thing every team needs is bullpen help. No matter who I hear talk about which team they always mention how they could use another arm in the bullpen and it’s pretty obvious why this is. With the way starting pitchers are handle it’s no surprise teams are out looking for the best bullpen arms they can find; be it closers or set up men.

For some reason unless you are a bona fide top of the rotation starter you can’t go through the other teams batting order a third time. I’m not sure why that is, but that’s how managers are handling starters.

Think about this; if you’re starter has a rough inning or two, but doesn’t give up any runs there’s almost no chance that you’re going to get more than 5 innings out of that starter. Remember that this could also be a pitcher that hasn’t given up any runs, but just had to work out of some trouble. Now you’re bullpen has to cover up to 4 innings in almost every game. How are they going to do that without breaking down?

Besides the odd third time through the line up rule how many times have you been watching a game and heard the announcers say that the pitcher is coming up on 100 pitches and will need to be removed soon. Obviously if your starting pitcher is working out of trouble and has to throw high leverage pitches every inning by the time he gets to that magical 100 pitch number he might be ready to be taken out of the game. Now this isn’t the case all the time, but time and time again when we see a pitcher get close to or just over the 100 pitch mark there’s action in the bullpen.

Since this is what baseball has turned into look for teams to try and get their hands on as may relivers as they can before the July 31st trade deadline. There was a trade earlier this week that should be the start of us seeing relievers starting to move.

On Monday the Kansas City Royals sent their closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals for three minor leaguers.

In exchange for Herrera Kansas City receives 21 year old Class-A outfielder Blake Perkins, 23 year old Double-a third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez and 17 year old right handed pitcher Yohanse Morel. Morel has pitched just one game in the Dominican Summer League since Washington has signed him.

Herrera is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent after this season. As part of the trade the Nationals agreed to pick up the remainder of Herrera’s contract for the 2018 season.

Herrera is just 28 years old, but is in his seventh major league season. He was a set up man on those Royals teams that went to back to back World Series before taking over as closer full time in 2017. Herrera was 1-1 with an ERA of 1.05 with 14 saves for Kansas City before being traded. He made his first appearance for the Nationals last night working a 1,2,3 inning in his debut.

The addition of Herrera to the Nationals bullpen gives them four guys down their with closing experience. Herrera joins Sean Doolittle (19 saves), Ryan Madson (3 saves) and Brandon Kintzler (2 saves) will be the fourth when he returns from the disable list some time next month. It’s unclear right now what role Herrera will fill in the Nationals bullpen, but he’s had success as both a closer and a set up guy; so manager Davey Martinez will have some flexibility with him depending on what he needs at the time.

This deal actually worked I two ways for the Nationals. Like I said every team needs help in their bullpen and the team the Nationals are chasing the Atlanta Braves where said to be interested in Herrera. The Nationals are currently 3 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East.

You also have to wonder how much interest the Philadelphia Phillies had in Herrera. The Phillies are in 3rd place in the NL East 4 1/2 games behind the Braves, but just a game behind the Nationals.

On Monday the Phillies sent their closer Hector Neris to Triple-A after posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 games this season. Neris did have 10 saves for the Phillies, but he blew three saves and with the high ERA Philadelphia decided to go another way.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t named a new closer and has said that he won’t. It appears as though the Phillies will be going with the dreaded closer by committee situation.

23 year old Seranthony Dominquez has picked up 3 saves while 24 year old Jake Thompson has 2 saves. Is it possible that one of these two young pitchers could take over the closers role on a Phillies that looks like it’s a contender for a playoff spot.

There could be a couple of closers on the trade market. Could you see the Phillies making a deal for Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles, Shane Greene of the Detroit Tigers or possibly Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. You have to think that they’ll look to add some type of relief help by July 31st.

The Houston Astros came into last nights game against the Tampa Bay Rays on a 12 game winning streak and with Justin Verlander on the mound it looked like there was a good chance they would get that 13th win in a row.

Blake Snell made the start for Tampa Bay opposite Verlander. Snell did have some struggles and walked 7 guys over his 7 innings, but he did limit  very good Astros offense to 3 hits and 1 run. Snell also added 6 strikeouts over his 7 innings. Verlander may have even pitched better than Snell as he went 6 2/3rd innings giving up just 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 10.

Matt Duffy led off the 8th inning with a double off of Hector Rondon. Jake Bauers made the first out of the inning on a ground out to 2nd base with Duffy moving to 3rd. Wilson Ramos singled to leftfield to drive Duffy in and give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

Ryne Stanek worked a 1,2,3 bottom of the 8th inning for Tampa Bay. Brad Peacock held the Rays in check in the Top of the 9th; so the Astros had one more chance to continue their winning streak. Jose Alvarado started the 9th inning and got the first out before giving which led to Sergio Romo coming out of the Rays bullpen. Romo did give up one hit, but no runs in route to picking up his 4th save of the season as the Rays ended the Astros 12 game winning streak with a 2-1 win.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that the podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Feel free to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

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