First Pitch

First Pitch: The Common, Yet Wrong Way to Manage a Bullpen

First Pitch: The Common, Yet Wrong Way to Manage a Bullpen

There is no reason why Mark Melancon should be handcuffed to the eighth inning. Photo by: David Hague

After today's game, Clint Hurdle announced that he would only be using Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon when the team is ahead. Hurdle didn't use either reliever in the ninth inning, instead turning to Tony Watson for a second inning in a game that was tied 4-4. Watson gave up the eventual winning run, and the Pirates lost 5-4 with their two best relievers on the bench.

I can understand not wanting to over-use your top relievers. Grilli and Melancon have both been worked hard this season. I don't have as much of a problem with not using either guy in the ninth inning. My problem comes in the sixth inning.

Now I know I'm crazy for suggesting this, but the time to use Grilli or Melancon would have been with no outs in the sixth inning when there were two runners on base. That's crazy because you don't use your best relievers until the 8th and 9th innings. Everyone knows that. That...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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