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Expand chart
Data: Fangraphs; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As we pointed out last week, the current MLB season has been dominated by home runs and strikeouts. Now, another major trend is beginning to emerge: bad bullpens.

Why it matters: Modern baseball is "based on the premise that a phalanx of power-armed relievers is a better option than a starter facing a lineup for a third time," writes SI's Tom Verducci.

  • Yes, but: What if that premise is wrong? What if, after years of starters being yanked earlier and earlier, baseball's elite relievers are beginning to wear out?

By the numbers: For the first time since 1973, relievers have a higher ERA (4.50) than starters (4.44). And this comes at a time when bullpens are being used more than ever (a record 3.62 innings per game).

What they're saying:

"Look at it this way. If you bring four or five relievers into a game every night, what are the chances that one of them is going to have a bad night? Pretty good, right? And if you do use four or five relievers every night, there's going to be an attrition factor. As hitters, we've gone back to the idea of 'Let's get into their bullpen.'"
— Freddie Freeman, Braves 1B, per SI

Go deeper: Baseball's season of extremes

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.