Bochy's deployment of the bullpen
The conventional strategy that Bochy has been using for this bullpen has clearly not worked. The conventional method says that the starter goes five to six innings. Then they hand it off to a middle reliever to cover the sixth and seventh innings, and then it is handed off to the late-inning relievers for the eighth and ninth innings. Bochy has spent this entire season searching for players for those roles. The problem is that he does not have players to fit into those roles.
This bullpen cannot be deployed in a conventional manner. It has to be unconventional if it is going to work. That means playing matchups more often. Not limiting guys to certain roles. Monday's game he could have used Perez for the seventh and eighth innings. Instead, he called upon Sborz, because Sborz has been his seventh and eighth-inning reliever for most of this season. It is why on Sunday he called upon Jose Leclerc in the eighth instead of using Cody Bradford. Bochy has guys pegged for certain roles and does not want to venture out of using those players in those roles.
It feels like he is trying to fit square pegs into a round hole instead of just trying to win baseball games. No matter how hard he tries Sborz is not going to be that reliable reliever. He washed out of the Dodgers system and probably needs to be let go from the Rangers organization at this point. Jose Leclerc is good but not consistent enough to be relied upon in a high-leverage role. Bochy and Mike Maddux are managing this bullpen as if it is a good bullpen and it is not. The goal should be to just get batters out. There should be no roles. If it is better to pitch Chapman in the sixth then so be it. Whatever it takes to get the 27th out and win the game should be the mantra.
Bochy is managing this as if this is year one of a three-year plan and that building up confidence in certain pitchers will pay dividends down the line. The problem with that thinking is that there is a good chance Chris Young will clean house in the bullpen completely this offseason. These guys who we are building confidence will not be here in 2024. Win games and let the rest figure itself out. That is all that matters right now.
Bochy should not be afraid to take chances. He is on the coldest of seats and will be for the duration of his tenure. He has nothing to lose at this point. Texas could absolutely miss the playoffs and he would still be the manager here for 2024. Bochy might as well go down swinging and try different combinations every night.
Lets get crazy. Instead of trying to find roles for players, find players who can get outs no matter the situation. 25 games left in the season and at this point, every game should be treated as if it is a playoff game because for Texas it is. If this slide continues they will get to the final week and find themselves nearly eliminated. Now is the time to start winning not the last 10 days of the season. Bochy is not the problem for this team, but he does deserve some of the blame for these issues.