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Monday, May 10, 2010

Poaching Those Ws

For the record, Baseball Almanac says Elroy "Roy" Face has the record for relief wins in a season in the National League with 18 in 1959 (I was alive but don't remember).

Mr. Face made 57 appearances that season, none of them starts. He posted an 18-1 record.

Without further research, I'm just going to guess some of them were wins that he let get away from others and ended up with his own self.

Wonder if they called him The Vulture, too? He doesn't look very Vulture-ish in the picture on the baseball card in the link I provided. With his cool glasses, Tyler Clippard has some Vulture thing going on - but I suspect the nickname he's doing a good job of earning has a bit more of a negative connotation.

That's OK, Peaches. We still love you here. They trot you out 10 times a week, they have to expect you to get hit once in a while. I still have nightmares over guys named Ayala, Colome, Shell (or was it Shelled) and others giving up a lot more than a run or two. They took games and put them out of reach. Better to be a Vulture than an Arsonist.

The real issue here is the six-person bullpen (can't count Slaten yet because we haven't seen him) contains only two players who inspire any sort of confidence when they get called into the game. Is Tyler Walker still on the team? Will Slaten be the answer or part of the answer? Where's that other six-letter-starts-with-S-and-ends-with-n reliever? He coming up in a package deal with Jee-sus?

The back end of the Nats bullpen is so much better than it was a year ago that maybe we're looking past the fact that the rest of it doesn't seem to be much better. When the arms of Capps and Clippard fall off, that could be problematic. Here's hoping the problem gets fixed sooner rather than later because I'd hate to see all this warm and fuzzy optimism starting to build inside me get burned in a series of bad relief appearances.

I'm not ready to say so long to Sean Burnett. I still think he's useful. Maybe the others will get that way, too, but how long do the Nats wait? Other than Jee-SUS' running mate, are there answers in the system who may be close?

Too much has gone right this season (sure it's early but it really isn't anymore) for a small crack in the foundation to cause major problems. Get it fixed now, please.

I do wonder how much poaching another guy's win costs in Kangaroo Court? Whatever times three could add up for Clip. But whatever times three a year ago would have added up to 0-3.


Eric said...

I got into a major twitter pissing contest w/ Chris Needam about this because I expected them to keep Chico up after this start to work out of the pen. In hindsight I wouldn't have suggested it had I known they had room to add Slaten w/o DFAing anyone (I'm looking at you Taveras, Batista & Walker). Basically we have 3 relievers in the pen no better than AAA fodder and 1 (Batista) giving away runs like a drunk Macy's santa.

I'm hoping Atilano replaces Batista when (if) Marquis "Returns", maybe Stammen replaces Walker when Strasburg comes up and Storen surplants Bruney? Peralta, Severino & English are potentially deserving in AAA if any of the above fails to materialize, but something has to be done soon before Clip & Save go all Majewski/Rauch/Cordero on us.

Dave Nichols said...

there's a lot of nahd-wringin right now about overusing Clip N Save, but I'm willing to bet things will even out pretty quickly. the Nats have been involved in an inordinate amount of close games, especially close comeback games. there will be some blowouts coming (inevitable) good and bad, and Clippard and Capps can get some rest. I think it's been more a function of the outcomes than legit overuse.

however, if both guys need to pitch 6-7 times on the road trip, then i think we can get concerned.

Dave Nichols said...

that was supposed to say "hand-wringing"

MikeHarris said...

Well, it's hard to type when you're wringing your hands!

I thought yesterday was going to be a blowout. Felt it from the start. Shows what I know.

Alan said...

Mike, I was alive and do remember. With my friends' family, Pittsburgh natives, we were at the game he lost at the LA Coliseum to the Dodgers. I think Jim Gilliam scored the winning run. As a 9 year old all I knew was that "we" beat the invincible reliever, I of course have no idea whether he vultured wins from starters. Thanks for jogging the memory!

MikeHarris said...

Alan - welcome. Nice to have a reader (only slightly) older than I am.

Wren said...

Ha. I used to live down the street from a grandnephew of Elroy's. He was the same year as me in school. When we figured out he was related, my dad got excited and went and dug up an old Elroy Face Topps card from his childhood collection.

And just to note-- the Nats bullpen held a lead for 3.2 tonight w/o an appearance by either Clippard or Capps. Got a little exciting there at the end, but they held nonetheless.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Elroy Face, a blast from the past. I hope my fading memory of those days is correct and that he was a Pirate for most of his career? To the present, if the "other" bullpen keeps it up and the NATS can start scoring (10-11 lob), happy days (storied sainted 2005) will be here again.