5 Tweaks the Mariners Must Make ASAP
Tweak 5: Stop With Innings Based Usage
I don’t think Scott Servais is a particularly good manager. I’ve made no effort to hide that fact. I think he is a good guy. I think he has done a nice job of building a solid culture. But I also think he is a poor field manager who trusts his rotation too much and doesn’t properly leverage his relievers most of the time.
My newest gripe with Servais is his stubborn refusal to use relievers in a creative way. Edwin Diaz never enters the game before the ninth, regardless of the situation. He will not pitch in extra innings unless it is a save situation.
Until Monday, he refused to use Alex Colome in obvious high-leverage spots, instead opting for Juan Nicasio. Why? Because it was the 7th inning, not the 8th. In this series, we saw Servais try to use Adam Warren and Zach Duke to get through the 7th until he was forced to go to Colome.
The fact that it worked and Colome was able to get 5 outs and his arm didn’t fall off, might be enough to get Servais to do it again. But to have any faith in that happening is foolish.
It is really quite simple. If you trust Colome to pitch the 8th, you should trust him to pitch in the 7th or 9th as well. Not using Edwin Diaz sooner has cost this team at least a win or two.
While it’s easier to just say the 7th belongs to Warren and Duke, the 8th to Colome and the ninth to Diaz, it is also inherently stupid. Managers aren’t supposed to make the easy decisions. No, they are supposed to make the right ones.
Playing the long game with Diaz made sense in April. But now, with less than 50 games to go, it is all hands on deck. And if you are really concerned about overusing Diaz, stop asking him to get 3 outs with a 3 run lead. Anybody in the bullpen can do that.
In conclusion, Scott Servais is quite bad at bullpen management. This is disappointing to me, especially since he arrived and vowed to do things differently. He was supposed to use the bullpen creatively. He wasn’t supposed to bunt. And he wasn’t supposed to write the lineup like a manager from 1977.
Use Diaz and Colome earlier, and worry about the rest when you get there. It really isn’t that difficult. Do the right thing Scott, win more games.