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Royal Blues


April 11, 2010 1:59 PM

Friday's 18-inning marathon was a great look at Omaha 'pen

CarlosRosa.JPGFriday's Omaha Royals game was 18 innings long, which is impressive in a lot of ways. It was impressive because it was 5 hours and 22 minutes long. All the fans who stayed in the stands on a chilly April night were impressive. But perhaps most impressive were the bullpens on both sides, who took over after each starter only went 4 innings. So now, after 3 games, we've seen a lot of all of Omaha's bullpen.

Anthony Lerew's Sideburns* pitched 3 innings Friday, and the 2 runs he allowed in the 5th - his first inning of work - were the last Memphis baserunners who would cross the plate for a long, long time.

*The sideburns, by the way, are much tamer than usual. Mike Jerschele  the same facial hair policy as the Yankees - neatly trimmed moustaches are allowed. Lerew's usual sideburn stylings are probably a little more than Jersch would like to allow.

Lerew struck out the first batter he faced in the 5th, and the last one he faced in the 7th, and nobody in between. He walked two batters; one of those was erased in a double play, and the other one scored.

The next player in the ridiculous bullpen carousel was Greg Holland. He pitched two good innings, allowing just two baserunners via  one hit and one walk. [Fun fact: The batter who walked was former Royal Ruben Gotay. He was wearing some SWEET Rec-Specs.] Four of Holland's 6 outs were groundouts, which is encouraging.

Carlos Rosa came up next, and ended up pitching three innings. He walked one, struck out two, and split the rest of his outs pretty evenly between the ground and the air. Also, I just noticed that Rosa's K/9 in AAA is by far the highest K rate of his minor league career. What does that mean? Are the hitters he's faced at triple-A not as good as the ones he faced at lower levels, or did he actually improve that much when he made the jump to Omaha in 2008?

Josh Rupe took the mound next. Since he's penciled in as a sometimes-starter, it's not surprising that he went 4 innings. But they were 4 really nice innings - 2 hits, one walk, and 3 strikeouts. Only 2 Memphis runners reached scoring position against Rupe, but neither of them came via extra-base hit. In fact, one of them reached 2nd in the 14th inning by Rupe's own error. But he got out of it, and the game went on (and on, and on, and ON).

Finally, after Rupe got through the 16th, it was 40-year-old Matt Herges' turn to try to hold the Redbirds off. His first inning was wonderful - 2 strikeouts and a groundout. He ran into trouble in the 18th, when Bryan Anderson (no, not that one) doubled to left. That's the moment when the wheels fell off, basically. Shane Robinson bunted to third, and a throwing error by Wilson Betemit - the Royals' 3rd error of the night - allowed the runner Anderson to score.  Before long, the Redbirds loaded up the bases, and scored twice more before a merciful groundout to end the 18th.

So in that one game alone, we saw multi-inning outings by five relievers - most of the bullpen! The first four of them looked good, and even Herges looked very good until the 18th. 

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