A late-inning reliever’s job isn’t always easy. Consider Aaron Loup: he pitched in 71 games last year, which is a lot. He gave up 24 earned runs, which isn’t too bad. But he gave up 10 of those 24 earned runs in three outings:
- On April 20th, he pitched the 6th inning in Cleveland in relief of Brandon Morrow, and gave up three walks and a bases-clearing double. His ERA went from 2.25 to 5.19.
- On May 3rd, he came into the game in the 7th inning against the Pirates, in relief of R. A. Dickey. He was given a 6-2 lead, and then gave up three runs on three hits and a walk. (In the 8th inning, Todd Redmond came on and gave up two more runs and earned the loss, leaving Dickey feeling, no doubt, a little hard done by.) Before this game, Loup had pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings over three outings, to bring his ERA down from 5.19 to 3.38; this bad appearance undid all that good work, sending his ERA back up to 5.02 again.
- On June 7th, Loup entered the game in the 8th inning in relief of Mark Buehrle, and didn’t last the inning, giving up three hits, two walks, and four earned runs. This was a little later in the season, so his ERA only went up from 2.43 to 3.56.
Despite all of this, Loup had a decent season in 2014. He gave up a few more runs and a few more walks, but gave up fewer hits and got more strikeouts. I expect more of the same in 2015.