Bochy's replacement in San Diego, Bud Black shares not only the same initials but a reputation for knowing how to run a bullpen and an awareness that if the bullpen stinks, the manager looks like a dummy. As the Angels' pitching coach from 2000-06, Black enjoyed a smooth ride thanks largely to bullpens that ranked second overall in WPA in that span (source: FanGraphs.com). With the Padres, Black presided over the transition from Hoffman to Heath Bell, which couldn't have gone better for both Bell and Black. A strong bullpen led by Hoffman, Bell and Doug Brocail nearly carried Black to a playoff berth in his first season of managing, but in the 163rd game Hoffman had nothing on his fastball and the Rockies went rat-a-tat-tat to grab the wild-card berth. Hoffman, then on the verge of his 40th birthday, had bone chips and spurs removed from his elbow once the team returned to San Diego.
Black and his pitching coaches, including the veteran bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, nurtured an even stronger bullpen in 2010, one whose WPA (8.42) led the majors. This time the Padres were eliminated in the 162nd game at San Francisco. Their opponent: Bochy's Giants, who had pitched historically well down the stretch and would pitch their way to a World Series championship, closer Brian Wilson getting the final out with a high-speed fastball in Arlington, Texas.
West Coast Bias covered all of Bochy's Padres teams and saw Bochy in the clubhouse as the Giants passed around the World Series trophy. Bochy had sailed past cloud nine well before his third or fourth champagne bath.
As the Padres and Giants finish a series in San Francisco today, once again each team's bullpen is adding IQ points to the two managers. WCB doubted this Giants bullpen would be as good as last year's; so far, it's been better. The Giants lead the majors in bullpen WPA (5.11). Led by a bullpen that seemed bottomless, Bochy's club outlasted the Padres in 14 innings Wednesday. The Padres can hold serve behind a bullpen that ranks sixth (3.22).