Chris Seelbach couldn't help but laugh at the question.
"How does your bullpen set up for the playoffs, coach?"
Seelbach realizes the Lowcountry Heat are only going as far in the postseason as their pitching staff allows. The war of attrition is part of the game this time of year, as teams who are best able to save their bullpen generally advance more often than not.
"You're playing 45 innings," Seelbach said. "That's a lot of innings. You're playing a lot of innings on consecutive days that you're not used to. As a pitching staff, you haven't had to do that."
The American Legion playoff format certainly doesn't bode well for teams without much pitching depth. The postseason begins with a pair of best-of-five series, with at the first beginning at 7 tonight against Orangeburg at Hilton Head Island High. The two teams will alternate games at their respective ballparks every day until a winner is decided.
"You take it day-by-day and then worry about the next day when it gets here," Seelbach said.
Concocting a playoff rotation started relatively easy but finished with more questions than answers. Seelbach will throw right-hander Ryan Ward tonight against Orangeburg, as the veteran possesses a better ability to rebound on three days' rest should the series stretch to five games. Ward got some work in against Goose Creek Thursday night and should be ready to go for tonight's opener.
That paves the way for fellow righty Nic Levy to start game two at Orangeburg.
"He's a little more resilient when it comes to the amount of pitches he can throw," Seelbach said of Ward. "He's a little more durable. He's obviously a good pitcher and I know he can come back again on Friday.
"Nic doesn't respond as well quickly coming back. I would have liked to pitch Nic on Monday and Friday but it just wasn't going to work."
That's where things get dicey, though. Seelbach said right-hander Andrew Dill is the tentative starter for game three at Hilton Head High but the staff did not yet know who would take the bump for an if-necessary game four. How the bullpen shakes out in the series' first three games will go a long way in determining that starter.
"We're going to try to win every game," Seelbach said. "If that means that I have to screw something up for Wednesday or Thursday then I'm going to do it. I'll worry about Wednesday or Thursday when I get there."
Lincoln Fuller is generally the first reliever out of the bullpen for the Heat, and Seelbach said he could be a candidate for the game four start. Left-hander Mat Clark and righty Jake Martin will also be used out of the bullpen and could be used in a potential bullpen game Thursday.
"I tried to get those guys as many innings as I could this year just to keep them ready for something like this," Seelbach said. "It may even get deeper than that. One of those guys may have to jump back and start on Thursday, too. You've got to be careful how you use them."
Seelbach understands the Heat's bullpen usage is a double-edged sword. He may need a starter for Thursday's game should the series stretch that far, but he also wants to eliminate the possibility of the game taking place by throwing his best early on.
"If that means that on Thursday I'm pitching somebody that I didn't want to pitch then so be it," he said. "If it's a close game, I'm not going to hesitate to use anybody at any time.
"I think that's going to be the determining factor for any team doing this kind of stuff."
However the bullpen unfolds, Seelbach is just happy to be in this position. The former Atlanta Braves reliever didn't have many expectations for 2012 -- his first year coaching the Heat -- but has managed to guide Post 185 to the playoffs while coming up just short of a League 1 championship.
"I didn't know what the expectation was because I haven't coached these kids before and didn't know them really well," he said. "I didn't have really any expectation. But to be able to be competing to win the league is obviously, anytime you're in your first year and you're able to do that, it's an accomplishment."