It is one of modern baseball’s grandest traditions. Every year, without fail, Joe Torre breaks a right-handed relief pitcher through ridiculous overuse, while other, perfectly good relievers languish unused in the pen.
It happened to Steve Karsay, Chris Hammond, Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon, Scott Proctor, and Cory Wade, and now this year it’s already happened to Ronald Belisario, the flame-throwing right-hander that the Dodgers plucked from the Pirates system, who has gone down with an elbow injury.
Belisario, with his fine 2.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, had already appeared in a team leading 43 games and was on pace to make a ridiculous 85 appearances this season.
But what makes this usage patter all the more insane is that for much of the season, the Dodgers have been carrying eight (8!) relievers on their active roster, meaning there was simply no excuse to ride Belisario so hard. Guys like Will Ohman, Travis Schlichting, and Scott Elbert sat around in the bullpen for weeks while only making a handful of appearances.
The worst part about all this for the Dodgers is not even losing a talented young arm like Belisario. It’s that now Joe Torre is going to ride Ramon Troncoso, an even more talented young arm, even harder than before (Troncoso was alread 2nd on the team with 38 appearances).
As I have about written previously, what makes Joe Torre’s usage of his favorite go-to righty of the moment so insane is how he uses them robotically only in certain situations, with no attention to proper rest, pitching guys on back to back days, and then not pitching them at all for a week, or even more bizarrely, bringing his top set-up man into blowouts on 0 days rest when he is clearly not needed at all.
When it comes to bullpen usage, Joe Torre is a madman, and he needs to be stopped! He’s literally ruining career after career.