Sports News

Loading...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The long lost Marshall Plan for bullpen management

Back in 1997 when I first started college at UNLV, despite studying theatre I still had a keen interest in sports. The old James Dickinson Library had a wealth of sports coaching materials: Old football playbooks, coaching guides for all sports, and a large archive of sports coaching magazines.

One day I stumbled upon an article featuring an interview with former pitcher and pitching coach Mike Marshall, blackballed from the Majors for a unique approach to developing pitchers that incumbent coaches, managers and owners consider a threat to the establishment and/or the health of their pitchers (even though there's a(n un)healthy rate of pitcher attrition under the status quo). (This and this are NOT from the interview in question. They're from a separate interview with BP's Jonah Keri, but will give you a good idea of where Marshall is coming from.)

What was interesting is that the article outlined a complete strategy from Marshall on managing an entire pitching staff. The plan, from memory:

- Every pitcher in the rotation would have a strict limit of 27 batters to face. If he got shelled, you could remove him early, but he is to face no more than 27 batters. The reason, which is discussed in the piece I linked above, is that familiarity and fatigue take away many of the pitcher's advantages once he faces hitters a 4th time.

- Instead of a closer, you would have two alternating short relievers commissioned to finish the final 1-2 innings (typically one) on alternating days, guaranteeing at least one day off after pitching for each reliever.

- You would also have two middle relievers to help bridge the gap between the 27th batter and the designated short reliever finishing the game, or to work in extra innings. Though you could make these relievers specialists (such as a lefty specialist and a groundball specialist for double play ball situations, as many managers do), Marshall's methods encourage the development of pitcher modularity (the ability to pitch effectively to any hitter in any situation) and thus there ideally wouldn't be a need for specialists per se.

- One other pitcher can then serve as the long reliever for those cases when the starter gets shelled or otherwise has to leave early, or if the game goes to extra innings and other available relievers have been used. This would give you a bullpen of 10 men (In this piece, Marshall used a five man rotation even though in the interview above he advocates usage of a four man rotation, likely deferring to the status quo in MLB and the minors).

- Here's the kicker: The starting pitcher that threw two days before is also made available in the bullpen if needed. He can throw to 1-2 batters in a pinch during the middle innings, or fill in a blank if several pitchers are for whatever reason already burned.

To date I have not been able to find the article online. I have found multiple interviews from Marshall, obviously (he is a somewhat popular interview) but have yet to find the piece where he outlines this strategy. As a result, in describing it from memory I may have omitted some details. If you are able to correct me, that is more than welcome because it means you've read the piece and might know where to find it.

Stumble Upon Toolbar BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NFL Photos for Week 6

"YOU KEEP COMING OVER HERE FOR NO REASON AND FLIPPING ME CRAP WHEN HIS TEAM HAS BEEN CHOP BLOCKING AND HOLDING US ALL DAY AND YOU HAVEN'T THROWN A SINGLE FLAG FOR IT"
"No really your fly's open"


It's SUPER OCHOCINCO


Tony Scheffler's kinetic touchdown catching skills proved vital against the Chargers


This week in NFL Interpretative Dance: The vintage 1960 Denver Broncos Tribal Pwnage Dance


Malcolm Floyd does the Space Crabwalk breakdance into the end zone


Tony Gonzalez loses his mind and tries to javelin a goalpost through his opponent


Danieal Manning is about to execute a sweet header towards the Falcons' goal, and receive a stern reminder that no, Danieal, we aren't playing soccer, soccer players don't wear these uniforms


"Hold on a sec, throw it WHERE?"


As Dawan Landry is about to find out in nauseating fashion, whatever Adrian Peterson had for breakfast causes horrible gas


Matt Cassel makes an ill advised decision to participate in the Running of the Bullcrappers, and gets gored


"Wait, is this the right guy? Think, Brodney, think!"


"GIVE ME BACK MY UGLY ORANGE JERSEY"
"NO DUDE THIS IS *MY* UGLY ORANG- HEY!"


The NFL's experimental floating bumbleball produced entertaining but unwelcome results


"Free halftime pizza and beer goes to... THE JAGUARS COACHING STAFF"


"THAT'S THE THIRD STRAIGHT WEEK THE JAGS COACHES HAVE WON. I CALL SHENANIGANS."


"Don't we need a table to arm wrestle?"
"Naw, we're cool. On three. One. Two...."


"GET... YOUR HEAD... OFF... OF MY ARM"


"BOO"
"AAAAGH!"


Donald Driver realizes in sudden horror that Demarcus Figgins is about to volleyball spike that football off his face


"Hold on a sec, I'll be right back"
"Okay... HEY WAIT A MINUTE"


"YES MY PRECIOUS YESSSSSSSSSSSS"
"uhhhhhhhhh somebody please help meeeee"


"GUESS WHO GETS A STARFISH BUMP?"
"Please stop"


"Guys, are we forgetting something?"


"THASS RIGHT WHITE BOY, SPIN KICK POWER"


"No really, Mr Jackson, we need that football for... uh... research purposes"
"NO IT'S MINE"


The Eagles new defense-puppets paid off against the Raiders


"Excuse me that's mine thanks"


The Steelers' new strategy of catapulting their ballcarriers onto the defense had mixed results


"Oh crap what am I supposed to do again?"
"Psst... supposed to drop it"
"Ah cool thanks"


Stumble Upon Toolbar BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NFL Photos for Week 5

INVISIBLE RECLINER


"Ah crap the cops found me"


"Yoyoyo Ochicinco Imma let you finish this catch, but Mark Clayton is the best receiver in football. IN FOOTBALL."


Craig Dahl tries using the Chris Benoit flying headbutt to break up a pass


"Naw your pants look fine. You sure this is a good time to check?"


The Bucs Breakdancing Cover 2 defense fails miserably on this Eagles touchdown


Five bucks says I can stop your QB dead with a girl slap. WATCH.


Living proof the Cowboys are a bunch of ankle biters


This week in NFL Interpretative Dance: Fosse! The New Bucs Defensive Coordinator!


INVISIBLE TALENT


Justin Hartwig: Human Banana Peel


Bobbie Williams celebrates after apparently eating some of his teammates

Speaking of which...

"THAT GUY. THAT GUY ATE MY LUNCH. AGAIN."


The NFL's experimental midfield baby oil slick proves a massive failure


Sorry, Rams, Brett's not giving autographs


It took a few frightening moments to convince Anthony Herrera that Adrian Peterson was celebrating a touchdown, not choking on a meal.

Adrian was advised to work on his touchdown celebrations.

Joe Flacco was surprised to find success throwing like a girl in the Ravens' 17-14 win over the Bengals


They still haven't learned. "HOLD HIM DOWN, MAN. THESE JERSEYS SELL FOR MAD MONEY ON EBAY"


The state of Texas celebrated their recent annexation of Kansas City


The Titans' defensive problems became quickly evident in their deep zone "Let's wait and see if he actually catches it" coverage


"WHY AM I DRESSED LIKE STEVE GROGAN? GET ME OUT OF THIS CRAPPY UNIFORM"


Tom Brady may have had a point, as the old unis stayed on and his Patriots promptly went out and lost to the 1971 Washington Huskies


BIGGEST TOUCHDOWN SPIKE EVER FORTHCOMING


Ahmard Hall goes Bruce Lee to get out of a dogpile against Indy


Finally, there are a couple of obvious photos from Week 5 but Kissing Suzy Kolber beat me to it with caps of their own (this one is not nice and NSFW) that made me laugh enough that I can't try to top them. Well played, Unsilent Majority.

(Crossposted as always to my personal blog)

Stumble Upon Toolbar BallHype: hype it up!