Wanted: Innings eaters …
When people talk about how bad the Padres bullpen was a year ago, I think they conveniently forget or simple don’t know why the team relied so much on the bullpen a year ago.
It was because they had no choice.
Sure, several of the same faces that helped this bullpen become, statistically at least, the best in baseball in 2007 were around last season when the bullpen struggled mightily, posting a 4.45 ERA.
But remember, Jake Peavy and Chris Young each dealt with injuries last season. Peavy had the issues with a strained right elbow and Young missed a large portion of the season after he was hit in the face with an Albert Pujols line drive.
In 2007, Peavy and Young combined for 64 starts and 396 1/3 innings. Last season? The two combined for 45 starts and 276 innings. That made for a greater workload for the bullpen.
Normally, you can expect a starting pitcher, if completely healthy, to make 35 starts. So what if Peavy and Young stay healthy and get closer to that number — well, like the 64 starts they had in 2007 — than the 45 a year ago. How does that change things?
Both pitchers are healthy this spring and there’s no reason why they can’t get back to those 64 starts. The wild card, of course, is what the rest of the rotation gives you. Cha Seung Baek made 20 starts last season after being acquired from the Mariners. No reason to think that he won’t make in upwards of 30 starts.
I’m not saying a healthy Peavy and Young will help this team to a division title. But you have to think they won’t lose 99 games again if these guys stay healthy and make 60-plus starts in 2009.