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Sunday, June 04, 2006

This Just In: Gar[d]ner Did Something Stupid

Since Brandon Backe went down on the DL once again this season--having decided that being on the shelf most of last season was delightfully fun--the Astros' rotation has consisted of Roy Oswalt, Andy "Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel" Pettitte, Taylor Buchholz, [Magic] Wandy Rodriguez, and Fernando Nieve.
Roy-O appears to have been healing slowly from the nagging injury that caused him to leave his last start a bit early (prompting another sucky performance from the bullpen), so Phil Gar[d]ner opted not to start Oswalt Saturday (his scheduled start). I'm in agreement with this.
What frustrates me is how Gar[d]ner chose to deal with the situation, after scratching Os from his scheduled start. Ultimately, he decided to pitch Cletus on only three days' rest (having trusted Cletus's well-informed opinion--given his injury problems the past few years--that he was capable of coming back on short rest and pitching well). In doing so, Gar completely eschewed the well-based statistic that those who pitch on short rest do so at their peril, with much less effectiveness than usual.
The trouble really stems from the fact that Cletus's usual effectiveness is, well, not really there too much this year. Then you throw him on short rest, which certainly doesn't enhance the chances of Cletus's escaping this year injury-free, instead of throwing a perfectly-rested Fernando Nieve.
Phil's logic was that the off day on Thursday afforded the Astros the opportunity to skip Nieve's spot in the rotation. He was hoping (dreaming seems a more appropriate term) that Oswalt would be ready to go after one more day of rest (Sunday). Naturally, Oswalt wasn't. Obviously, it's not fair to judge somebody's decisions by hindsight. The timing of this post will suggest that this is precisely what I am doing.

Actually, though, I disagreed with the notion when it was first posited as a possibility. If Roy-O is still recovering from injury, the last thing I want to do is throw him out there too early and risk permanent (or season-ending) injury. Nor do I really want him to pitch in pain, because that just isn't going to do swell things to one's prospects of winning the game.
(BTW, I wish it were as easy for the Astros to find a win every now and then, as it is for me to spot goofy-looking people sitting right behind home plate. Where do they get this group of bozos from--the street outside the park?)
But the chances of Roy being (a) unable to pitch on Saturday, but (b) fully recovered on Sunday, are just remote. They were then, they are now. (Well, it's now documented truth, as of Sunday night.) So Gar[d]ner was likely to have to throw Nieve out there, anyway. Why not go Nieve-Cletus, both on full rest, than Cletus (on short rest)-Nieve? Stupid.

Sure enough, Nieve pitched pretty well today. Too bad our freaking anemic offense decided that two hits (or something like that--I was sort of watching the game while trying to build a treehouse with a set of instructions that labeled parts A through AR, and had a ton of different bolts and nuts, although one was naturally missing and necessitated a trip to the hardware store--I saw only bits and pieces of the game) was all they really wanted to put up in regulation today.
Cletus, of course, pitched poorly. Freaking Bronson Arroyo out-RBI'd the Astros. Totally weak.
So Nieve-Cletus would have done nobody any harm, and given Oswalt two days' extra rest. If he weren't able to go by then, you start wondering if something more sinister is in order, and bring up Jason Hirsch for a spot start. Lord knows there are some folks deserving of joining Mike Gallo in Round Rock for a few days.

So great work, Gar. 3 games under .500, after being swept by what was a slumping Reds team. Crap!


Blogger Phat-C said...

I'm still trying to figure this one out. And it's not like our chances were any better the way he did it. What's the worst that could've happened had he listened to us? We would've... lost both games. Oh, we did that anyway. NEAT.

12:30 PM  
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12:09 AM  

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