A closer look at the Bullpen

For the last 3 years, I’ve had the privilege of watching a very competitive and quality baseball team ran by Raphael Cerrato and Jeff Hourigan and the way they operated in-game was very textbook. Take the bullpen for example, players seemed to have set roles that made it fairly predictable as to who would be coming in late in the game. Last Season it was Peter Jay in the 7th, Eric Peck/Taylor Candage in the 8th and Mitch Rossi in the 9th.

It was fairly easy to set it up like that because “Hoss” was one of the best in Division II history. He shortened the game for Cerrato and was more than capable of going extra innings. I’ll never forget the guts and attitude he showed on the mound in his final collegiate appearence.

One reality with this years team is that Mitch Rossi is no longer here and there is no other pitcher that gives the team 3 outs as quickly as he did.

To be totally honest, I think the Chargers are in great shape for life without Mitch because Chris Celano’s philosophies match up better with what the bullpen currently has to offer.

In today’s doubleheader vs St Rose, Celano used Frank Vilacha in the ninth inning to finish game 1 and Joey Royer to finish game 2. The common theme today with Celano’s use of the bullpen was to feed the hot hand and handle it by a committee. Henry Hirsch retired 6 consecutive batters when he entered for Aquilino in the 5th, then lost his command and Joey Royer kept the Chargers in the game. Joey then pitched the 8th and 9th all while Jay warmed in the ‘pen.

One thing I talked about with Coach before the season was that he seemed prepared to use a closer-by-committee. Peter Jay ended up with the first crack at the 9th and pitched very well, however, he’s struggled recently. One thing that a coach always has to gauge is how to best utilize the current players on their roster, maybe the best way to close out games for this team is to use the hot hand.

Today, Celano felt that the best way to win two very important division games against St. Rose was to ride the pitcher that could get him there the fastest. I think if he took a similar approach to the way Cerrato ran his bullpen that they lose at least one game. With the Chargers losing the season series to SCSU and Le Moyne already, they can’t afford too many more division losses or they’ll risk missing the NE-10 tournament.

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