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Thursday, September 08, 2005

PAIN IN THE COLON
The great thing about losing east coast games is that I don't have to waste any of my life watching our pitiful efforts. I get to hear the ignominous ends on the commute home, and then I have five plus hours to do whatever and ignore the frustration. Apparently, says Seitz, the Sox floodgates opened when they were the beneficiary of a bad call on a check swing. I don't know if I have the heart to go back to the MLB.tv archive to find it.

Far more distressing than losing to the Red Sox in Fenway (remember, I went into this week expecting us to give up our divisional lead) is the news that Bartolo Colon's back injury is causing him a great deal of pain, and his status for Saturday is very much up in the air. We hold both Kelvim Escobar and Joe Saunders in reserve, but it seems that Escobar will be the guy if Colon can't go. The result is that our already shaky bullpen is weakened for the next week; Sean ably discusses the matter today, arguing that Saunders should get the start so that Escobar can remain in the bullpen.

Saunders did look good in his one start, apparently -- when I watched the game (on videotape) I was as angry as I've ever been in my life, and couldn't really focus on how he was pitching (one day I'm going to go back to MLB.tv to watch the whole thing with a clear mind) -- but his AAA perf (4.58 ERA, 29:21 K:BB in 59 IP) is unspectacular, PCL or no. Sean does make the good point that even if he has a bad start, all you've lost is one game (at most), and in addition I'll say that maybe you've just made Kevin Gregg and Esteban Yan unavailable for a day or two after (if Saunders' start were to be both brutish and short). The trade-off is that you maybe win a game or two that Escobar can preserve in the bullpen.

All in all, I think Sean makes a good case. Even the one reservation he posits ("Of course, things do change significantly if Escobar simply isn't needed in relief tonight or tomorrow. In that case, it's a much closer call.") doesn't really do anything for me, as it's not just today and tomorrow when Kelvim couldn't pitch -- if he started and threw 75-80 pitches on Saturday, he might not be able to pitch again in relief until Wednesday.

However, there is another long-term consideration. If Colon's injury causes him to miss more than one start, we'll want Escobar, not Saunders, to take that rotation slot. In that case, Escobar needs to be on schedule to take over. I suspect that this is the worst-case scenario the Angels are providing for. Hopefully, Colon will shake off the pain and be able to pitch on Saturday. If he's unable to, we might be in big trouble most ricky-tick.

Comments:
Manny was due up next, and it wasn't the last out, so I don't want to be misinterpreted as saying that the bad called caused the big inning. They probably would have lost anyway. But it was a bad call, and it did lead directly to two runs.
 
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