David Pauley’s Success
My latest piece for the Brock and Salk blog is now live – I’ll be on with the guys on 710 ESPN at 9:30 to discuss this and the rest of the goings on with the team.
Here’s the first few paragraphs of the piece, and you can read the rest at 710sports.com.
Perhaps no part of the Mariners surprising success so far this season has been more unexpected than the development of David Pauley into a reliable relief ace for Eric Wedge to turn to. Pauley began the year as a long reliever, but has pitched his way into a highly valuable role as a rubber-arm who doesn’t give up runs, and his ability to get critical outs in front of Brandon League is one of the main reasons the Mariners are over .500 with an offense that is still pretty terrible.
It’s not that uncommon for starting pitchers to go to the bullpen and get better. In fact, almost all relief pitchers are failed starters who have resurrected their careers in relief. In many cases, relievers possess some flaw that keeps them from succeeding in the rotation, but those weaknesses can be hidden in short stints where they are only asked to get three outs at a time. Relievers also benefit from the ability to throw as hard as possible on every pitch, since they don’t have to pace themselves and stay on the mound for six innings or more.
That is why a pitcher such as League – the prototypical modern reliever – can succeed while throwing just two high-octane pitches. However, Pauley is different, and he’s succeeding in a way entirely different from most relievers.