Changes Coming to Padres Bullpen

Underperforming, overworked group redefining roles

The Padres bullpen has been overworked this season. Only the Diamondbacks relievers have thrown more innings in 2016 than the Friars have, and only by 1.0 inning. But recently the Padres‘ pen has been abysmal.

The relief corps was going south even before their historic meltdown on Thursday night when the bullpen allowed 10 runs. Padres relievers had allowed 13 runs in the previous three games (all against the Mariners), and the downward trend has Manager Andy Green pulling a few strings.

“I think we’ll see some changes,” said Green. “I think we’ll see some guys in different roles going forward.”

So, on the brink of a 3-game series against the Rockies at Petco Park, what exactly does that mean?

“You’ll see it evolve in time and be able to draw your conclusions from what you see,” said Green.

At this point he almost HAS to try something. The Padres bullpen ERA has shot up to 5.06, the third-worst in Major League Baseball. This is a franchise that for years, especially since their Downtown ballpark opened, has relied on a dominant bullpen to win games. For long stretches this year that simply has not been the case but Green does not think the problem is terminal.

“I don’t think it’s a long-term loss of faith in anybody. I think it’s a short-term design to regain confidence in some of our relievers to put them in positions to succeed.”

Does that mean the skipper needs to regain confidence in the guys in the bullpen or that he wants to let the relievers regain confidence in themselves? And which one would be more problematic?

“I have confidence in them,” said Green. “I think it’s for themselves. I think you put guys in positions sometimes where they get a different opportunity and, sometimes, a softer landing for a bit. Get them out of the high-leverage role for a short period of time. After that occurs they regain their confidence, they find their footing again and they’re off to the races throwing the ball well again.”

Green fully expects the guys who get re-shuffled to at some point return to the roles they were in. Until then, we’ll see if the creativity works.

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