KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' bullpen was stretched thin for a second day in a row in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Cardinals.
The first two games of the I-70 Series saw short outings by Kansas City starters, and that meant a parade of arms marching in from the left-field bullpen.
Friday's starter, Vin Mazzaro, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, and Luis Mendoza couldn't get out of the fifth on Saturday. A total of nine Royals relievers pitched in the first two games. A roster move was made before Saturday's game to help out the 'pen, with Francisley Bueno joining the team and Roman Colon designated for assignment.
According to reliever Tim Collins, who was one of the arms called into Friday's game, short outings by starting pitchers can be frustrating for the 'pen as a whole.
"It's tough as a bullpen if the starter doesn't go out there and go five or six [innings]. It makes it a lot harder for us to be fresh for the next day," Collins said. "You've seen it a lot this year. You've had guys go up and down just because they've had to fill that spot with a long guy. It's kind of tough for us, but that's how the game goes sometimes. The starters aren't always going to go five, six, seven innings."
Collins added, though, that it's part of the job and relief pitchers need to be prepared should the call come early on.
"As a reliever you should be ready from the first inning on," Collins said. "Obviously, if the starter goes out a little early, that's usually the long guy's job. You've always got to prepare from the first inning on as a reliever, because you're going to be going in the game any time."
And being used multiple days in a row doesn't necessarily mean a vacation.
"As a reliever, you've got to be ready to go four, five days in a row because that's our job. ... Obviously there's going to be days where you're going to get a day off," Collins said. "Because of pitch count and if you go multiple innings, you're probably going to get a day off. If you're going one inning two, three days in a row, you've got to be ready to pitch everyday. So that's the mentality that we keep. We don't go down there thinking or knowing we're going to have a day off."