Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lou overthinks rotation

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.


Kevin said...

agreed. what was the point of getting tracs if we're not even going to use him in a very important game. Im upset we lost, but more upset that milwaukee has suddenly decided to win on the road too. argh.. its gonna be a long 10 games

Anonymous said...

What was the point of getting Trachsel? The point was to make sure we had a veteran guy spot start. Marshall's stuff flattened out, because he hasn't really pitched more than 150 professional innings...ever.

But in the end, you pitch your best guys. Plain and simple. I agree with Lou, and he has handled the pen, rotation and lineup so well.

Eddie said...

Piniella has handled the bullpen beautifully and he's doing the best he can with his lineup. There were times that I wanted him to give Derrek Lee a day or two off in August and the fact that the piece of shit left fielder doesn't want to hit anywhere other than leadoff has handcuffed Piniella a bit, but Lou's trying his best.

But, I still don't understand how you can agree with Piniella pushing back Zambrano, just so he can bring him back on short rest. I understand that bringing Zambrano back on three days' rest when he did gives both he and Lilly and extra start for the rest of the season, but why throw him 8 innings if you know he's going to get three days' rest. Better yet, why push him back to the St. Louis series?!?

I'm not blaming Zambrano's poor performance on the short rest, but I simply don't understand why Lou was fucking around with the rotation. The Cardinals were five games out when we pushed Z back to face St. Louis and we had a one game lead when Zambrano faced the Reds.

You talk about now being the time to make a move, but I challenge you: what move did we need to make? We had the division lead! It's not us that needed to make a move, we just needed to keep doing what we've been doing.

Besides, it's not like we had just 1 or 2 games left, we had 10 remaining! Just to put things into perspective, 10 games left in the football season puts us at week 7. Ten may not seem as much because we're rarely in this position this late in the season, but ten is A TON! A four-game turnaround in just ten days is not out of the stretch of the imagination, so let's not empty the tank just yet.

Yes, Zambrano gave us a better shot to win THAT game, but throwing Trachsel would've increased our probabilities over the next ten.

Adjusting the rotation and switching things out of the ordinary seems like a desperation maneuver. A team in first place may have some sense of urgency, but certainly not desperation.