As I have emphasized in earlier blog articles, the quality of a team’s bullpen is paramount to a sports handicapper. While most quality starting pitching (i.e. Dan Haren, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, etc.) will last 6-7 innings, the era of strict pitch counts have many teams utilizing their bullpens at an increased level. And, when your team needs 6 to 9 outs to preserve a win, you want to make sure that your wager is supported by a quality and competent bullpen. For the purposes of demonstrating how poor relief pitching can destroy your wager, please meet the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen has garnered a 7.15 ERA and 1.781 WHIP this season (thru June 21, 2010), including allowing 154 runs, 224 hits (33 home runs) and 9 blown saves in 181 innings pitched. Moreover, Arizona’s relief pitchers have a 6.36 ERA and 1.564 WHIP at home, a 7.15 ERA and 1.781 WHIP on grass, a 6.19 ERA and 1.633 WHIP at night and a 5.12 ERA and 1.501 WHIP versus American League opponents.
Do you really want to be protecting a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning with the Diamondbacks’ bullpen? Can you imagine having placed a $500 wager on Arizona knowing that your hard-earned money is in the hands of a bullpen that has blown 9 of 23 save opportunities (39.1%), while owning a pathetic 135/99 K/BB ratio? So, before you place your next wager, make sure that the team you are backing has a competent bullpen like the ones listed in previous blog articles.