Like the starting rotation, the bull pen had a very bad opening day. All but one of the pitchers Ron Washington used out of the pen on opening day had an ERA of 9.00 or higher. In case you are new to baseball or don’t know, and ERA over 9.00 is bad. That makes the overall bull pen ERA 4.68, and they have allowed 7 runs in 12.1 innings pitched so far (baseball reference).
Those numbers are again skewed because of two relievers, Pedro Figueroa (15.43 ERA) and Alexi Ogando (13.50 ERA). The rest of the bull pen has an ERA of 4.00 or lower. In fact, only Shawn Tolleson has an ERA at all for the rest of the pen (3.86). Seth Rosin, Neal Cotts, Joakim Soria and Jason Frasor all have a combined 0.00 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched. That is pretty good in my book. I know that it is too early to really tell, but I think we are looking at a bull pen that, overall, is better than I expected it to be after removing Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross from it. And it is going to need to continue to be.
We don’t know how far into the game Joe Saunders or Nick Martinez are going to be able to go, and we don’t know if Yu Darvish is going to go deep either, so that bull pen is going to need to be 0.00 ERA great or the weekend to keep the Texas Rangers in games. I have faith that they can, and the very limited sample of numbers shows that they can do that. I believe that, if he is not hurt, Ogando will come around and Figueroa will either come around or be sent down at some point. Eventually Scheppers and Ross could be back in the pen again if Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis can come back and pitch lights out, but I am not sure that is going to happen any time soon.
So my premature evaluation of the bull pen so far is good. I have been happy overall, in a three game sample where all of them have pitched, only two of the seven have been bad, and Ogando has a track record of being good. What are your thoughts on the pen? Is it going to be a strength or a weakness? Let us know!