Bush vs. Parra debate

28 04 2008

Dave Bush has been sent down to Triple-A now that Yovani Gallardo is back in the roation and Ben Sheets is fully healthy.  We have been speculating for weeks that Bush may be traded, but the Brewers opted to simply send him to the minors to work some of the kinks out.  Good.  Fine.  Moving on.

Not so fast.  Many people believe that Manny Parra should have been sent to Nashville instead of Bush.  I personally believe that Parra saved his job in the big leagues with his outing yesterday, so I understand that line of thinking.

Brewers Bar believes that Parra should have gotten sent down because he cannot go deep into games.  Citing the bullpen’s heavy workload, Jesse asserts that it would be better to have Bush go six or seven innings and give up a run or two more than stick with Parra who will tax our bullpen.  Parra certainly has better stuff than does Bush.  That does not mean he should stay in the bigs, however.

In-Between Hops, however, argues that people are reading too much into Parra’s short outings.  Fans and critics are saying that he simply cannot go six or seven innings.  Scott Segrin disagrees.  Parra can go deeper into games, but Ned Yost and the Brewers are trying to save his arm and pull him before he throws too many pitches.  Parra has thrown the fewest pitches per game (only 90 pitches/game), so perhaps there is some truth to that.

I believe Brewers Bar has the more persuasive argument here.  Ned Yost and the Brewers are almost certainly attempting to limit the number of pitches Manny Parra is throwing, but it does make our bullpen work harder.  After Manny went 5.1 innings, David Riske, Guillermo Mota, Mitch Stetter, Derrick Turnbow, and Eric Gagne all worked.  Because it went to extra innings, so did Seth McClung.  That is a lot of relievers to be in every five days.  Dave Bush does not have the ceiling that Parra has, but he does have the durability that Parra lacks.  That is huge for the Crew’s ‘pen right now.

Before you accuse me of having the same type of “Bush-love” that Ned has for Dave Bush, let me explain a little more.  Dave Bush actually has given up three fewer hits in one inning less of work.  Parra has walked one more batter than Bush as well.  Bush does have problems with giving up the long ball, however.  In one less start, he has given up three more home runs than Parra.  This does raise a red flag, but one must notice that Dave has pitched 22.2 innings in four starts.  Manny has pitched 23.2 innings in five starts.  That may seem innocuous this early in the season, but it will multiply throughout the rest of the season.

Finally, I would like to suggest that Manny would be a great fit as a long man in the bullpen.  It would keep his pitch count and innings down, while allowing him to enjoy success early in his pitch counts.  In his first 25 pitches, Parra allows opposing hitters to hit a measly .160.  In his next 25 pitches, he only gives up an opposing batting average of .260.  As a long reliever, most of his work would be in these areas.

Once Parra gets above the 50 pitch mark, however, things go downhill very quickly.  Between pitch number 51 and pitch 75, opposing hitters are hitting a fine .357, with an on-base percentage at .406.  His effectiveness dwindles significantly the further he gets into the game.  Between pitches 76 and 100, hitters are batting a staggering .563!  If Parra were the long man in the ‘pen, the Brewers would be able to utilize his strengths.  He is young, so these numbers are bound to get better, but he is most effective pitching only three to four innings at a time.

Dave Bush is not as flashy as Manny Parra, but he eats plenty of innings.  He is certainly more frustrating than Parra, but he is a solid number five starter in the rotation.  Placing Manny as the long man in the bullpen would allow Manny to gain big league experience, while still making a spot start or two along the way.  This, of course, would mean that the Brewers would have to get rid of one of the other arms in the bullpen.  That would be a whole different argument.  All in all, it is a positive thing for the Milwaukee Brewers that there are more major league caliber players than positions on the roster.  Depth is key to a division title.

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2 responses

28 04 2008
BJ

I had never thought before about trying to limit Parra’s pitching, but it makes more sense why they’re not leaving him in. It also make sense, as you noted, because after the first few innings, his control becomes an issue and hitters start hitting him hard. I still think the overworked bullpen can’t be blamed on the starting pitching at this point. All of these extra innings games are what is really killing us. The hitters need to turn things around and give these guys a break!

28 04 2008
Kyle

I agree… Bush is a proven commodity, who has and can pitch over 200 innings… and Parra hasn’t been spectacular this year, but about even with Bush more or less… so why not go to what they have done in the past as a tie breaker…

You can’t make sound judgments based off 20 some innings of pitching… It would be similar to saying Irabarren should be starting over Braun in the OF because he is batting .333 in 6 AB this year… while Braun is batting .255 … while Braun doesn’t have the longest track record he has over 500 ABs now, it is similar to comparing bush’s 653 innings pitched to Parra’s 20 some… wouldn’t it seem ridiculous to send Braun back down… now granted Braun was ROY last year, but I can’t believe the Brewers sent down Bush and not Parra… I know this sounds bad, but I hope Parra goes down with a slight injury, lands on the DL, Bush comes up angry and pitches two great games, and keeps his job, while Parra stays down… atleast until Sheets gets hurt again.

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