"Everybody's focusing on the bullpen," Leyland said, "and the fact of the matter is, we need more innings from our starters. Everybody's zeroed in on the bullpen and picking on the bullpen. I'm not picking on anybody, nor am I mad at any starters or mad at any bullpen guys. These are peaks and valleys in baseball, and you go through these. And the worst thing you can do is panic. I think it's wrong for everybody to focus on the bullpen."Other bloggers have already done a good job discussing the quote so I'll point you to them. Eric analyzes the quote on D-Town Tigers. He illustrates that Tigers relievers have pitched 33.4% of the team's innings which is the second lowest percent in the division. They are just slightly behind the Indians bullpen which has pitched 32.6% of their teams innings. He also points out that the 2007 Tigers bullpen is very close to the 2006 Tigers bullpen which was at 32.6%.
Kurt at Mack Avenue says that Leyland is wrong and that the focus should be on the bullpen. He says that the Tigers 5.33 bullpen ERA is the worst in baseball. At the same time the Tigers starters have a very respectable 4.00 ERA.
Ian at Bless You Boys thinks it is time to make a trade for some relief help.
I, of course, agree with all of them. I think Leyland agrees too and is just trying to take the pressure off the bullpen. It would be nice if the starters could pitch more innings but, as Eric says, the bullpen is not pitching an unusual number of innings. The starters can't go 8 innings every night so the bullpen is going to remain a problem. I suspect Ian will get his wish for bullpen help within the next few weeks.
What is Samara saying about the Tigers bullpen? Well, she is so disgusted she would rather talk about beetles. She has an unusual but interesting scholarly article on beetles, baseball and information theory on MVN. I'm not going to try to explain it. Just read it.