Why Ausmus went to his bullpen in the 8th

Rick Porcello struck out the side in his seventh and final inning Sunday afternoon, including Howie Kendrick swinging and missing at a changeup for his 99th pitch of the game. He had the bottom of the Angels batting order due up in the eighth, and he had retired eight of nine batters since his errant pickoff throw set off chaos that led to a run.

So why did Brad Ausmus turn to Joba Chamberlain for the eighth inning? It wasn’t about where Porcello was at, but where he — and correspondingly, the bullpen — would’ve been had the Angels started a rally.

“You send him back out and a couple runners get on, he’s at 110 pitches and now you have to bring in somebody in the middle of an inning with [runners at] first and third or first and second,” Ausmus said. “I’d much rather just start [Chamberlain] with a fresh inning, knowing that the chance of Ricky getting through it — the way he pitched, he could have — you just don’t want to take that risk. …

“He was fine in the seventh, but he gets into that no-mans land in terms of pitch count.”

This might seem like a little shift in thinking from Ausmus, who has tended to give his starters the benefit of the doubt but has in turn given his relievers the tight situations to inherit when things don’t work out. With Chamberlain, however, it’s pretty standard. Nine of his 10 outings in July have begun at the start of an inning, last Wednesday’s game at Arizona being the exception. He has entered with a runner on base just three times since May 7. By contrast, Al Alburquerque has entered with runners on base in his last five outings.

When there’s an eighth-inning lead to hold, Chamberlain usually gets the entire inning. There’s a reason for that.

“Joba’s been rock solid in the eighth inning,” Ausmus said.

While Porcello was rolling, meanwhile, there were minor signs of risk heading into the eighth. Left-handed hitting Efren Navarro was due to lead off the inning, with switch-hitting catcher Hank Conger up third. And before Porcello struck out the side, four of his previous five outs had come on fly balls or line drives, the one exception a strikeout of Albert Pujols.

Would those signs have led Ausmus to call it a day for his other starting pitchers? That might depend on the pitcher. He let Porcello go the distance in Texas last month despite an esclating pitch count, but he had a six-run lead to play with there. He let Porcello finish out a 3-0 shutout five days later, but his pitch count was so low there wasn’t much risk involved. As it is, though, Porcello hasn’t seen 100 pitches in an outing since the shutout in Texas, a streak of five consecutive starts.

“I felt good,” Porcello said Sunday, “but Brad wanted to take me out, so that’s understood.”


Seems like we have seen a lot of excuses here lately.

All right, all right, you guys need a feel good story. Click on this link for a story about Dimitri Young who has lost 85 pounds. Pictures too.

wow – thanks Rich – good for him. Never ever would have recognized him other than that big smile he has always had

Hey Tiger fans!!! listen up !!! A team can NOT win with 2-3 runs a game ..They are in a slump and if they dont come out its bye bye to first place

follow up …I meant to say a series,other than when Max pitches ..

Wow, you are right Illiniofan. Excuses. What i read there is he has no confidence in Ricky after 7 innings, even when under 100 pitches when the game is close. He’s more concerned with Jaba feeling comfortable entering at the beginning of an inning than he is letting his best pitcher this year throw a complete game. So let’s pamper the bullpen, because they are doing SUCH a great job this year. Whatever happened to letting a starter go until he gets into trouble? They are called RELIEF pitchers for a reason! So Jaba’s only good enough to start an inning with bases empty, but not good enough to get his starting pitcher out of a jam. Totally unimpressed with Ausmus so far.

I didn’t have an issue with Brad going to his pen at that point. I think he blew it on Tuesday, but yesterday no.

Rick is already up to 133 IP having thrown 177 IP the past years including post season. Rick will have to do around 210+ IP this year if we are able to get the ring that rules.

The problem is not our starters. The pen should be improved, especially if they spill some Coke but take a Sipp first.
It’s our hitters. They will determine if this is a championship team. If they revert to station-to-station baseball; wait for someone to unload a bomb; persist in playing a .200 hitter in a run-producing part of the lineup; keep running Torii out to RF; condone the exaggerated uppercut swinging with RISP, etc–they won’t be playing in late October.

Nick Castellanos: Often I read–here and Detroit sports websites, how less than average NC is at the hot corner. I totally disagree. From what I`ve seen, his stats too, he is doing rather well. Don`t get me wrong, he is a bit unrefined there but the longer he works with Omar the better he will get. He tries to get on his toes before the pitch but he is a little ball shy and tends to be rocking backwards at contact then reacting to the ball. As soon as he learns to be coming forward in anticipation mode he will become a very good defender.
He has made some superb plays this year. Quite a few bare-handed. His throws are accurate and strong. This is not an ordinary guy. He has the mind set that he is a better than good ball player. He will be the kind of guy like JV where he will want to be the best (GK–I didn`t say JV IS the best!!!)
I remember a guy by the name of Mike Schmidt. He made far more errors when he came up before becoming a Gold Glover.
We are fortunate to have an infielder like Nick the Stick who may begin to remind people of Schmitty a bit.
I`d hate to see Nick back in the OF where (if the GM is doing his job properly) you stick hard-hitting clanky-gloved thugs at the corners.

At 99 pitches, no complains. Joba was overused but he has been rested lately and Soria will share the load,so it was time to go with the fresh arm. No complains here.

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