This is about respect. A lot of the time, baseball players get a lot of criticism for failing to do their job. They get called any number of names by fans, told that they are no good. Often the collossal failure of being the man on the mound at the end of a losing effort brings out the greatest negativity in the crowd.
We, the fans, tend to treat bullpen pitchers as interchangeable parts. “Dump this guy!” We exclaim, after back to back bad outings. “Call up Igarashi, get Beck on the phone!” we lament over trades not made, the cost of Coco Cordero. They are the blue-collar workers of the Major League roster.
Look at the title of the post. Do you know who #38 is on the Toronto Blue Jays roster? He’s been the steadiest hand in the bullpen. With all the Casey Janssen/Santos/Cordero drama, number 38 has put up the following line.
20ip, 14 hits allowed, 6 walks. 20 strikeouts. His worst outing of the year, he allowed one earned run. In his longest, he held the line for 2 and 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers, allowing 3 base-runners and no runs. Over the course of the season, 3-4-5-6 hitters are hitting .242/.342/.333 off of him, for a .675 OPS. He has allowed only one home run.
So, here’s to you, Darren Oliver. The number 38 never looked so good in the blue and white. See you in the late innings very soon.
You can follow Darren Oliver on Twitter at @southpawDO28, though he doesn’t say much.