Why do boys want their windows open wide? Warm blood. That’s the story of all our sorrows. You’ll live and get hurt. But, when it’s time, tell me. Say goodbye. Otherwise, I might not let you go. Wouldn’t that be terrible; to just grab hold?1
The 2019 Cleveland Indians bullpen has been an eclectic mix. The carnival that descended upon the Tribe for this year was a welcome respite given the tribulations of the season last. There are those that must have rode the carousel forwards; Oliver Perez, Dan Otero, and Tyler Clippard. Those that must have rode it backwards; Logan Allen, Phil Maton, and Hunter Wood.2 Side-armers, LOOGYs, ROOGYs, long-haired mavens, and clean-cut baby faces. Important to accept each for who they are and use them appropriately.
What it has been more than anything though is successful. MLB-leading in earned run average and not far behind the Major League lead in fielding independent pitching has both old school baseball lovers and new-age sabermetric devotees with commonality.3 Being third in win probability added also gives game theory enthusiasts arguments to note the bullpen was not padding their statistics in meaningless blowouts.4
Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he’s covering up. He’s had his fun and he’s guilty. And men do love sin. Oh, how they love it. Never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells.
Indeed the antacid pills have been swapped out for hot sauce packets in recent weeks as calls for relief have not been answered despite their early-season impervious nature. Multiple games have been lost late; opposition insurance runs gained, tied games handed over, and late leads given up. Brad Hand has taken the brunt of the criticism in his closing role, but he has far from being the only one struggling. Josh Smith, Hunter Wood, Adam Cimber, Nick Wittgren, Nick Goody, and Phil Maton have taken turns battling their own demons.5
Not words in books or words you say but real thoughts, real actions, quick thought, quick action, win the day.
‘Because baseball’ explains the premise that no matter the underlying validity or lack thereof of the process undertaken or talent available, the wide variety of possibilities on the result spectrum shows itself almost random within a small enough sample. The best starting pitchers have bad starts, the best hitters will go through slumps, and the best bullpens will blow leads. The reverse, of course, is ever as true.
Perhaps additions of Carlos Carrasco and James Karinchak provide a boost in September not only in skill but as a way to use relief arms in optimal situations. But, if the 2019 Cleveland Indians have any realistic chance at World Series contention, especially given the reported hamate bone break for Jose Ramirez, positive results must follow manager Terry Francona’s trips to the mound. No amounts of statistics or articles written or fan frustration can push the Indians into the postseason. The Tribe must be able to rely on what has been a chief strength.