On Friday night Tyler Mahle was removed from the game in the 5th inning after allowing a leadoff double, walking Delino DeShields Jr. and getting Elvis Andrus to pop up. He had been struggling with his control, walking three batters and hitting another one – but he hadn’t allowed runs since the 1st. Still, sitting at 96 pitches, with 2 runners on, and 2 lefties due up over the next 3 batters, David Bell went to the bullpen. Wandy Peralta struck out the first batter he faced, but then walked Asdrubal Cabrera and served up a grand slam to Rougned Odor, essentially ending the game.
After the game, Tyler Mahle was feeling frustrated. And he let it be known, throwing his manager under the bus a little bit in the process.
Tyler Mahle not thrilled in the least with being pulled when he was by David Bell in tonight’s #Reds loss. “It’s getting pretty ridiculous at this point.” Full quote: pic.twitter.com/6Df5VXVtQD
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) June 15, 2019
It certainly didn’t help that when he left the game the next pitcher gave up a grand slam. Had Wandy Peralta gotten out of the inning unscathed, while Tyler Mahle would have likely still felt he should have been given a little more room to work, his reaction post game probably would have been a little bit different. But when you literally couldn’t have done worse, it probably feeds into the “I should have been given a chance” feeling that one would get.
This is not the first time that a pitcher has not liked how manager David Bell has handled the pitching opportunities this season. Both Raisel Iglesias and Tanner Roark have voiced their frustration earlier this season. Roark had a similar complaint to that of Mahle – he wanted to be able to pitch deeper into the game. Iglesias wanted to pitch in different circumstances than he was being given.
Baseball is changing whether the players like it or not. Unless you are a bonafide Ace, managers aren’t giving you the chance to work through your struggles if you are facing the lineup for the 3rd time in the game. The numbers are quite clear – pitchers take a big step backwards once they face a lineup for a third time. Front offices and managers have figured this out and accepted that it just doesn’t make sense to “wait and see” what happens. And with the Reds, it’s been pretty clear all season that’s how things were going to be handled. They have an 8-man bullpen for a reason.
David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson should sit down with Tyler Mahle tomorrow and have a discussion about why this situation played out like it did. Mahle was frustrated and he said something publicly that he shouldn’t have. But maybe it’s good that he did, too. This way he should get a chance to talk with the manager about why this is happening. Had he kept to himself in front of the media on Friday night then perhaps he wouldn’t have said anything in private, either, and then this conversation wouldn’t happen. Or at least happen yet. And really, the sooner the conversation does happen, the better.