Colorado Rockies: Bullpen management has to improve

DENVER, CO - JUNE 9: Bud Black #10 of the Colorado Rockies relieves Bryan Shaw #29 after Shaw gave up 6 runs (1 earned) in the eighth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on June 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 9: Bud Black #10 of the Colorado Rockies relieves Bryan Shaw #29 after Shaw gave up 6 runs (1 earned) in the eighth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on June 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Time after time, Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black keeps bringing in Bryan Shaw … and time after time, he’s getting burned. So that begs the question: Bud Black, do you like losing?

Obviously, I know the answer is no but with the moves that you’ve been making, you’ve been setting your players (and team) to lose.

On Saturday, Tyler Anderson has pitched a good game as he has only allowed one run in six innings. However, within six pitches in the inning, he allows two singles, which poses a threat considering nobody was out and the Rockies offense was dormant as it was a 1-1 tie.

The pitcher’s spot comes up but the Marlins have their regular first baseman, Justin Bour, available on the bench. Before the at-bat, Black sends catcher Tony Wolters out to the mound for a mound visit. Nobody was warming up in the bullpen (and it could be argued that there should have been before) but with Anderson at 91 pitches, they call down to the bullpen to get two relievers warming: Harrison Musgrave … and Bryan Shaw.

You could just here Rockies fan sighing and picturing them doing a facepalm when the AT&T Sports Rocky Mountain broadcast showed the bullpen with Shaw climbing on the bullpen mound to warm up.

Four pitches later, Anderson gives up a RBI single to Bour and gets yanked by Black … for Bryan Shaw, who had less than three minutes to warm up and he enters the game with an ERA of 7.20 (and an ERA of 13.50 in his previous nine games with an opponent slash line of .486/.558/.686), gets called in.

You know what happened after that.

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A close play gets a single (it was originally an out but overturned on review) which loads the bases, and a force out at the plate. Bases loaded with one out for one of the Marlins best hitters, catcher JT Realmuto, who had a single in the previous inning. Shaw works Realmuto to a 2-2 count on five pitches (on pitches that were all, besides the second pitch, belt high or higher). On pitch number six, Shaw throws a 95 MPH cutter up and away at Realmuto goes with the pitch and takes it out to right field and it goes in the first row above the scoreboard for a grand slam. 6-1 Marlins and the game is practically over.

After a groundout and walk, Black yanks Shaw in favor of Harrison Musgrave, who gets the third out on one pitch.

The Rockies score their second run of the game in the bottom half of the inning but score no more. 6-2 loss. Tyler Anderson gets saddled with the loss but it should be Bryan Shaw (and Bud Black) who get the loss.

Why in the world would anybody put Shaw in a one-run game in the seventh? Again, do you like losing? Are you trying to lose? Because making that move has burned you dozens of times before … but you do it again.

In the words of the great Albert Einstein, doing the same thing and expecting a different is one thing: pure insanity.

After the game, Black spoke to the media, including our own Kevin Henry and Jake Shapiro, and said this…

I realize that others in the bullpen have struggled and their have been injuries but you’re going to take a “step back” with Shaw when the other relievers come back (and when he returns from the DL himself)? So, when will they be returning. Here’s the official return dates for the relievers on the DL.

Mike Dunn: TBD, but pitched in Albuquerque on Saturday night

Carlos Estevez: TBD, but heading to Triple-A for a rehab assignment

Scott Oberg: TBD, but pitched in Albuquerque on Saturday night

Zac Rosscup: Possibly late June … but his status hasn’t been updated since June 2. Also, don’t tell me that Zac Rosscup will be replacing him.

So, at “TBD,” they will be going away from Shaw.

That’ll work out well.

Give me a break.

Here’s a solution for when he returns from the disabled list: don’t use him. Or, at least, don’t use Shaw when the game is within five runs. Obviously, you can’t DFA him, option him, or trade him but you don’t have to use him in close games. You’ve got eight relievers. Don’t use Shaw (or Chris Rusin, for that matter) within five-run games.

Next: The Rockies need a struggling Chad Bettis to find answers

Unless you like losing games, Bud Black, you need to change how you run your bullpen. Otherwise, the Rockies won’t be near contention for the playoffs and you may even cost your boss (Jeff Bridich) his job … and maybe even yours.

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