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Pitchers make up half of any baseball team, yet there is only ever one pitcher in the game at a time. That stands in stark contrast to position players, of whom there are nine in the lineup at any time. So what about all the other pitchers? Well, you can find them in the bullpen.
The term “bullpen” actually refers to three different things in baseball. First and foremost, it refers to the area in a baseball stadium where pitchers warm up before they enter the game. In addition, it can also refer to a team’s group of relief pitchers. Finally, it can refer to a throwing session that a pitcher performs in between games.
In most baseball stadiums, the bullpen is a fenced-in box in the back of the outfield. Relief pitchers and bullpen pitchers sit there during games, while the rest of the team sits in the dugout. Relievers remain in the bullpen so they can begin to warm up if they need to come into pitch. This is why each team’s group of relief pitchers is often referred to collectively as the bullpen. And because the bullpen is where pitchers throw warm-up and practice sessions, “throwing a bullpen” has become another word for throwing one of those sessions – even if it doesn’t actually take place in the bullpen.
- 1 Why Is it Called a Bullpen in Baseball?
- 2 How Many Pitchers Make Up a Bullpen?
- 3 What Are the Roles in a Bullpen?
- 4 What is a Save?
- 5 What Does It Mean For a Pitcher to Throw a Bullpen?
- 6 What Does a Bullpen Day Refer To?
- 7 What Is the Purpose of a Bullpen Game?
- 8 Who Is in the Bullpen in Baseball?
- 9 Related Questions
Why Is it Called a Bullpen in Baseball?
The term “bullpen” has been in use for nearly as long as professional baseball has existed. There are several theories for where the name comes from, but there is no definitive answer.
On dairy farms and at rodeos, bulls are often kept in a separate pen, much like how relief pitchers watch the game from a different area than the rest of the team. This area is fenced in with a swinging gate, much like a literal bull pen. This seems to be the most likely explanation as to where the name comes from. However, other theories suggest it comes from the Bull Durham Tobacco company, or that it comes from a separate, related game called pitchers used to play “bull pen”.
How Many Pitchers Make Up a Bullpen?
A typical major league team will carry seven or eight pitchers in their bullpen. However, this number can vary depending on the team and the time of year. For example, in September teams are allowed to increase the number of players on their roster, so they might add a reliever to their bullpen. Similarly, in the postseason teams use fewer starting pitchers, so they might add an extra bullpen pitcher or two to the roster.
What Are the Roles in a Bullpen?
The most important role in a bullpen is that of the closer. The closer is typically the best relief pitcher on the team, and his job is to pitch the final inning of close games where his team has the chance to win. Closers are most likely to pitch in save situations.
Other bullpen roles include the set-up man, the middle-relief pitchers, and the long man. A set-up man is typically the second-best reliever on the team who pitches right before the closer enters the game. A middle-reliever is usually a trustworthy pitcher but not a dominant arm, so he is used in the sixth and seventh innings of a game – also known as the middle innings. A long man is a reliever who enters the game when the starting pitcher has to come out early, and his job is to pitch for several innings at a time. In other words, he is expected to pitch for a long time.
What is a Save?
A “save” is a statistic used to measure the performance of a team’s bullpen or an individual bullpen pitcher. A save is awarded to a bullpen pitcher if they finish a game in which their team wins. However, there are a few additional conditions that must be met for a pitcher to earn a save.
Firstly, he cannot be the starting pitcher or the winning pitcher. Secondly, he must have pitched at least one-third of an inning. That means he must have gotten at least one batter out. Finally, he must meet one of these three conditions: either he entered the game with no more than a three-run lead and pitched for a full inning; he entered the game with the tying run on base, at the plate, or up next; or he pitched for at least three full innings at the end of the game.
What Does It Mean For a Pitcher to Throw a Bullpen?
“Throwing a bullpen” means having a warm-up session before a game or on an off-day. Pitchers will throw bullpen sessions to keep their arms fresh in between games. They will also throw bullpen sessions as part of the rehab process when returning from injury.
Sometimes, a free-agent pitcher will also throw a bullpen during the offseason. The purpose of this bullpen session is for scouts from different teams to come and watch the pitcher throw.
A bullpen day is a scheduled day for a pitcher to throw a bullpen session. Specifically, it refers to a day when a starting pitcher will throw a practice bullpen session in between his starts. Typically a bullpen day will take place two or three days before the pitcher’s next start.
A bullpen day can easily be confused with a bullpen game. However, they are two very different things. A bullpen game refers to a game in which a team decides not to use a traditional starting pitcher. Instead, they plan to get through all nine innings using only relief pitchers. While a bullpen day refers to a practice session, a bullpen game refers to a real game.
What Is the Purpose of a Bullpen Game?
Most of the time, a team will rely on a starting pitcher to pitch the first five to seven innings of a game. Therefore, the bullpen’s job is usually to finish the final two to four innings.
Sometimes, however, a team will decide not to use a starting pitcher. This might be because one of their starters is injured, because the team wants to give their starters some extra rest, or because the team is playing a double-header that day and does not have an extra starting pitcher to use.
Who Is in the Bullpen in Baseball?
The bullpen is where relief pitchers wait during the game and where starting pitchers warm up before the game. But these aren’t the only people who work in the bullpen.
Every major league bullpen also has a bullpen coach. This coach watches over and advises relief pitchers while they warm up. It is also this coach’s job to remain in communication with the pitching coach back in the dugout.
In addition, a bullpen would not be complete without a bullpen catcher. The bullpen catcher is there to help pitchers warm up, because, of course, they need someone to throw to. Sometimes, the bullpen catcher also serves as a catching coach or secondary bullpen coach.
What Is a LOOGY in Baseball?
A LOOGY is a bullpen role that largely no longer exists at the major league level. LOOGY is an acronym that stands for “left-handed one-out guy,” and it refers to a left-handed pitcher who comes into the game just to face a tough left-handed batter on the opposing team. He would typically be removed right after facing this hitter, thus why he was called a “one-out” pitcher.
However, since Major League Baseball implemented the three-batter minimum rule, there is no longer a need for LOOGY pitchers. All pitchers in a team’s bullpen must be capable of facing at least three batters per outing.
What Does “Playing the Bullpen” Mean?
“Playing the bullpen” can mean a couple of different things. It might refer to a strategy used by a manager in which he heavily relies on his bullpen and uses many different relief pitchers to finish off a game. Alternatively, it could also refer to a strategy used by the offensive team, in which they try to get the starting pitcher out of the game as early as possible so as to play against the bullpen.
How Many Starting Pitchers Are on a Baseball Team?
Most of the time, a baseball team carries five starting pitchers, and the rest of the pitchers on their roster are relievers. In certain rare instances, a team will carry six starting pitchers instead. They might choose to do this if one of their starters is particularly injury-prone, or if they want to give all of their starters some extra rest.
In the postseason, teams will carry fewer starting pitchers – three in a short series and four in a longer series. Therefore, the rest of the pitchers on the roster will all be relievers. This means a postseason team might have as many as ten pitchers in their bullpen at any time.