Oct 29, 2010, 2:15 PM EST
Watching the Rangers' bullpen completely melt down in the eighth inning last night, I couldn't help but wonder how the Nationals' relief corps might have handled that situation. Seven runs allowed, all with two outs? Four straight walks, two with the bases loaded? Yeah, we've seen that before.
At least one member of the Nats bullpen was watching and had sympathy for Texas left-hander Derek Holland (who at one point threw 11 consecutive balls). As Collin Balester wrote on his Twitter account (the typos are his):
"Sometimes throwing Strikes isn't easy. I feel for Holland I never like to see anyone struggle like that.I have been there before#worldseries"
The funny thing is, the Rangers bullpen was quite good all season. That unit posted a 3.38 ERA, sixth-best in the majors (the Nats ranked fifth). It held opponents to a .236 batting average (tied for fifth-best). It did issue 203 walks in 503 2/3 innings. But the group as a whole was very strong, boasting five pitchers with ERAs under 3.00: Neftali Feliz, Darren O'Day, Darren Oliver, Alexi Ogando and Michael Kirkman.
The Nationals had three relievers with sub-3.00 ERAs: Sean Burnett, Joel Peralta and Balester. (You could also throw Matt Capps in there if you want to count his numbers before he was traded to Minnesota.) They had five more relievers with ERAs under 4.00: Tyler Clippard, Miguel Batista, Drew Storen, Doug Slaten and Tyler Walker.
In the end, the depth of the Nats bullpen was perhaps as important (if not more important) than its talent. With a starting staff that threw only 889 1/3 innings (only the Pirates rotation threw fewer), JimRead more »
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