Friday, February 15, 2008

St. Louis: Bullpen Responds to Criticism

St. Louis, 2/15/08: The same day that St. Louis manager schedule1 called out the bullpen to reporters, two relievers combined to shut down the Boston Bulldogs in the 8th and 9th innings to secure a Switchmen victory.

"I have faith in these kids. They're learning on the fly. But when the rotation is clicking and the bats are producing, they've got to take the blame for our .500 record," schedule1 said before the game. He cited the ERAs of the four starters, which were all "hovering around 3.00", and also said that he would continue to rely heavily on the young bullpen to protect leads despite its recent struggles.

Starter Grover Sikorski pitched 7 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned), and left the game trailing by a run. Schedule turned to Rich Klesko (2-2) to keep the Switchmen in the game, and he did, retiring three straight batters after a leadoff single. The Swtichmen, aided by a two-out error by Boston shortstop Darrin Barclay, rallied for 3 in the 8th, and Derek Brock earned his 4th save, striking out 2.

"They're a great bunch. They're young," said schedule after the game. Our 6 setup guys have 5 years of big-league experience between them. If they can turn it around-- and I believe that they can-- we'll be in good shape."

Klesko, the youngest member of the team at 20, indicate an increasing comfort level. "This is a lot different from what I'm used to. The older pitchers have been great at helping us adjust, and I'm finally getting used to the big-league treatment." His numbers corroborate his statement; Klesko hasn't given up a run in his last four appearances.

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