So what does all of this mean? Simply put, Black and his staff will rely on not only scouting reports but also communication and instincts when it comes to bullpen usage this season. Yes, even after series where the bullpen is used more than normal.
Absolutely, there are roles that are defined, such as Chris Rusin and Lyles serving as more middle-of-the-game relievers and Greg Holland as the team’s closer and finisher. However, as we saw in Friday night’s win in Arizona, Rusin could be brought in to serve as a specialty role as he did when he struck out two left-handed Diamondbacks before turning the ball over to Adam Ottavino.
Colorado’s bullpen this season has been one of the biggest reasons for the team’s improvement and impressive early record. However, it’s still a work in progress and seems that it will be in somewhat flux for the remainder of the season. If a starting pitcher can go six solid innings and turn it over to the bullpen like Kyle Freeland did on Friday night in Arizona, it’s an advantage for Colorado, even without Dunn.
Don’t be surprised if another move or two is made to strengthen the bullpen. Much like when the team designated Jason Motte for assignment, Colorado management has shown they’re not afraid to do whatever it takes to make the 2017 Colorado bullpen a strength and chip away at the weaker links.
With this in the background and Black’s penchant for bullpen management through a number of means, Colorado is set up (barring injuries) for success in the game’s late innings throughout the rest of the campaign.