The Baltimore Orioles young pitcher T.J. McFarland is getting his debut season started in a little bit of a different role. Taking on the job of long reliever is not a simple or steady job for a pitcher but McFarland has performed great so far. Though it might not be a role desired by many pitchers or even a popular position to be placed in, it is very important for a team and it is vital that it be done well for the rest of the bullpen to achieve maximum effectiveness.
McFarland has only pitched 5.1 innings this season. That is one of the unenviable parts of the job, that the pitcher gets fewer outings. When he is called upon it might be when his team is getting blown out. Such a job is far from fun but it can save the bullpen for the next several games when a long reliever comes in and eats a few innings, even maybe a few runs. The term “take one for the team” comes to mind as many times that is what the long reliever is tasked to do.
So far this season McFarland has been perfect in his short time on the diamond. He gets some extra tosses between outings in the bullpen to keep him sharp and his manager Buck Showalter is already eying chances to get him more time on the mound. That is what happens when the team recognizes the long reliever doing a great job.
It is kind of like starting out on the bottom and quickly working your way up the corporate ladder. There is no telling how long McFarland will be in the long relief role but the way he is handling himself will lead to the larger roles he will get in the near future.