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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

September 26, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Another sign that Mariners bullpen has gotten the job done

ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you missed today’s Talkin’ Baseball segment on Sports Radio KJR, you can listen to it above by clicking the podcast link.
Just about every day, I get a packet of statistical information from writer Bill Chuck. This morning, one of his tidbits jumped out at me. It was an item he wrote on the number of inherited runners each team’s bullpen members allow to score.
In other words, when a reliever comes into a game with runners on base, those are “inherited runners”. So, if they score, he isn’t charged with an earned run allowed. But it’s still his job to get a team out of that situation.
Nobody expects a reliever to allow zero inherited runners to score when he comes in with the bases loaded and none out. But the better a bullpen’s rate at stranding guys, the better off the team will be.
This is why ERA doesn’t always do the trick when it comes to bullpens.
A relief pitcher who comes in with a guy on first base and two outs and allows two hits to score the first runner won’t see his ERA impacted if he gets that third out right after. But the team will inevitably suffer because that reliever did not do his job.
So, inherited runners is an interesting stat and a good way to evaluate bullpens.
And what Chuck’s research shows is that the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are the two best AL teams when it comes to keeping opponents from scoring.
Hardly a surprise, since the Yankees are a first place club and the Rays are fighting for a playoff spot (and might have one if their owners would spend money on upgrading the offense rather than trying to win with the lowest payroll every year).
But which team is in third place? You guessed it. Your Seattle Mariners.

The Yankees have allowed only 22 percent of all inherited runners to score and far-and-away lead the league and all of baseball.
Tampa Bay is second at 26 percent of inherited runners scoring.
And the Mariners are third at 27 percent.
The rest of the AL is as follows:
Texas — 28 percent
Cleveland — 29 percent
Chicago — 29 percent
Toronto — 30 percent
Minnesota — 30 percent
Boston — 30 percent
Oakland — 31 percent
Detroit — 31 percent
Royals — 32 percent
Baltimore — 32 percent
Los Angeles — 34 percent
Whoa, look at those Angels in last place. I’ll tell you what, if that team misses the playoffs, the bullpen torch-jobs we’ve seen all year long from them will be front-and-center as the culprits.
There isn’t really a whole lot separating some of the clubs, but on a whole, I’d say the Mariners have done a good job considering all of the new arms they broke in to the relief corps this season.
Remember, the playoff contenders have been playing meaningful games most of the season and can’t afford to go with anything less than their absolute best in every situation. The Mariners? Let’s just say they’ve left some guys in there longer than they normally would for “development” purposes. We would not have seen them if there was anything on the line and chances are, Seattle’s numbers would be even better.
A 27 percent rate of allowing inherited runners to score would only place a team in a four-way tie for fifth spot in the NL. But that’s likely because of the grouping of superior hitters one-through-nine in the AL. There are no No. 9 pitcher’s spots in the order to help AL relievers strand baserunners.
Anyhow, I just thought it was interesting. Something to keep an eye on next year.



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