Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Can't get no relief

Paul Molitor's bullpen opened the season with five right-handers. Two of them -- closer Brandon Kintzler and Tyler Duffey -- are getting the job done. The others, not so much

Ryan Pressly, expected to be the primary setup man and closer in waiting, has an 8.74 ERA in 11.1 innings. Matt Belisle, the journeyman veteran who essentially inherited that role whe Pressley started throwing home runs with regularity, sports an even worse mark (9.00) after Sunday's debacle.

There is a difference. Belisle has had two horrid outings -- 11 of the 13 earned runs charged against him this season came in two appearances. The rest of the time, he's been pretty good. Pressly has had just one outing in which he got more than two outs without being charged with a run. He's been consistently ineffective.

And, of course, Michael Tonkin has been designated for assignment already.

We're still waiting on the power arms to come up. The question is, how rapidly are Falvine willing to push them up the ladder.

Consider Nick Burdi, for example. He threw all of three innings last season. So far he's been dominating Southern League hitters (0.77 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 11.2 innings). High-end gas to be sure. But he hasn't pitched in Triple A yet, and he might be better served with a go-slow approach.

Ditto Mason Melotakis, also at Chattanooga and sporting a neat 0.00 ERA for Jake Mauer. The lefty has allowed just seven baserunners in his first 13.2 innings. But like Burdi, he had limited work last season and hasn't seen Triple A.

The guy I expected/hoped to see on the major league roster coming out of camp. J.T. Chargois, has pitched all of 2.2 innings this season and is about to start a rehab assignment as he returns from an injury. He won't be up soon. Jake Reed, another relief prospect who has caught eyes in the past, has yet to appear in a minor league game.

All of which suggests that Pressly and Belisle will get more opportunities to work out of their problems.

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