Bill Bray and Gary Majewski have been touted as everything from the next Nasty Boys to the cure for b.o. Everyone who’s supported this trade starts by saying that improved middle relief is essential to the Reds’ chances of contention.
“I think for us to compete in the second half, we had to upgrade the bullpen,” Krivsky said. “It’s very difficult to get quality pitchers for the back end of the game like a Bray and Majewski. We think they’re two key pieces for our bullpen.”
I’m not going to rehash what I believe – that no amount of even exceptional middle relief can make up the offense lost in Kearns and Lopez (especially if Clayton’s really going to be playing).
My question is whether Bray and Majewski are even able to contribute innings sufficient to make a difference, even if they’re pitching well. Majewski’s been beat around in his first two outings, which is what got me thinking — is he exhausted from overwork?
Majewski has been ridden pretty hard by Frank Robinson. He’s second among all relievers (both leagues) in innings pitched (56.2). He’s tied for fourth in appearances (48). According to ESPN’s stats, he’s thrown an incredible 980 pitches.
By means of comparison, Todd Coffey’s only thrown 738 pitches. Weathers is only at 683. Salomon Torres, the Major League leader in relief innings pitched, has only thrown 887. Bob Howry (48 appearances) has only thrown 767.
Last year, the Reds’ leader in relief innings was Weathers (77.2). He threw 1227 pitches over the season. At his current pace, Majewski would throw 1726. Last season, his first full one in the bigs, Majewski threw 1462 pitches.
I didn’t run numbers for everybody, but it sure as hell looks like Majewski has had a workload unlike any other reliever — he’s nearly 100 pitches (11%) higher than his nearest competitor. I’m no doctor, or even a pitching coach, but I can’t imagine that bodes well for the second half. He’s going to have to get a lot more efficient, or I don’t think he’s going to have anything left for this playoff hunt he’s going to preserve.