This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
Earlier this season, we took a look at a few teams struggling to find answers in the bullpen. As the year has progressed, it has become painfully obvious to MLB and fantasy teams that a reliable bullpen, front to back, is critical to success. As many starting pitchers were kept at the trade deadline, the scramble was on for help in the endgame – an "endgame" that has been happening earlier and earlier.
Bullpen acquisitions create a potential shift in playoff chances
The trade deadline moves were generally intended to improve the team's chances of playing in October. A few teams dramatically improved while others were unable (or unwilling) to pull the trigger on potentially useful arms. Very few teams have five reliable starters. In fact, there are teams that are hard-pressed to pencil in more than a couple of regular starting pitchers who can be expected to generate many positive innings on a consistent basis. True quality relievers have become more important, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to "save" that best guy for the ninth inning. Let's take a look at some bullpen assignments in the NL and see how they stack up for a post-season push:
Here are some NL bullpen scenarios to keep an eye on:
- Washington Nationals – The Nationals struggled earlier this season, and their woeful bullpen was a big part of that. At one point they were well under .500, and many questioned their ability to make the playoffs. They had a solid closer