The Miami Marlins have encountered a constant issue with the bullpen. How should they align it and use it to get the most of it?
In the off-season the Miami Marlins made it a priority to go out and make the bullpen as strong as possible. They thought by doing it they could shorten games and take care of the later innings.
Instead, it’s been nothing but constant stress and confusion. The only role that is set in the bullpen is the closer role. Occupied by A.J. Ramos.
Mop up duty
Outside of that it’s been a crap-shoot. Something that might help the production of the pen is set roles. Junichi Tazawa, and David Phelps should currently be used in a role if the fish are either down or need innings.
Neither guy has shown the ability to hold leads for the ball club. So due to that they should be put in less stressful situations to get some mojo back.
Long relievers/ early entrances
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However, both men can also be used in the 6th inning to start the trek to Ramos. Urena and McGowan also come in handy during extra-inning games due to their ability to eat innings.
An odd man out in the pen right now sadly is Nick Wittgren. He started the season in the Major League pen due to his success last season. After the 16 inning game though, the Fish needed an extra arm and had to send him down.
The guy that replaced him (who will be mentioned later) has been phenomenal leading to extended time in the minors for Wittgren. Wittgren can be used in almost any situation because the man can straight up get outs.
The trek to Ramos
Another 6th or 7th inning guy is Brad Ziegler. Ziegler has been consistent and reliable up until the outing in New York where he was rocked. Everyone has a down outing though and his track record should speak for itself.
He’s a lefty that the Marlins desperately needed for starters. The man also can raise his velocity to the mid to high 90’s along with a devastating change-up. He gets lefties and righties out alike and has the poise of a late inning guy.
Barraclough, last year had the highest K/9 at 14.0. Guys struggle to hit against him, and his stuff is electric, throwing 98 consistently with the humbling wipe out slider.
The Marlins so far this season are looking for consistency. Consistency though should not just apply to the play of the team but also how guys are used.
Instead of just throwing guys out there whenever, Don Mattingly should reassess his usage of the pen, and develop a precise lineup for the guys.