Boy, I didn't like how Piniella has handled the rotation over the past couple of weeks and I definitely don't like it now that I've seen three innings from Carlos Zambrano.
Ever since we acquired Steve Trachsel, the rotation's been in shambles. I wouldn't have minded had the fifth spot been the only thing that was affected, but while trying to juggle his pitchers, Lou made a mess out of his staff. Okay, maybe the doubleheader on Saturday had something to do with it, but I really think that Piniella over thought it.
Piniella brought Steve Trachsel back on short rest in the final game at Minute Maid Park so that Zambrano could throw against the Cardinals. I thought that was a risk, but it turned out to be okay, as we ended up winning both games. Had the Cardinals been closer to the division lead, I would've agreed with the move. I certainly agreed with Tony LaRussa's decision to push Adam Wainwright back; he was down and had no other choice. But, was it really worth the risk to push a team five games out further back?
Then, Piniella decided to bring back Zambrano on short rest (after 8 innings and 101 pitches) with a one-game lead in the division! We're ahead, so why are we taking the risks? We should've been okay with pitching Trachsel today against the Reds so that the worst case scenario was a tie in the division lead and our pitchers at full strength. Instead, we've now risked falling into a tie anyway and having to bring back Lilly on the fourth day.
What bothers me most about this is that it seems like we pushed Zambrano back last week, just so we could bring him back on short rest?
That's not something we should do with the division lead.