The cancellation Tuesday night of the Cardinals vs. Nationals game may have a more significant impact than expected. If the rotation were to go in order, and last night’s game had not been canceled, the Reds would have faced McClellan, Carpenter, and Westbrook on Sunday. Unfortunately, Westbrook is now scheduled to throw today and Garcia tonight as part of a day/night double-header. That’s a problem.
Having to burn two starting pitchers in one day, the Cardinals are now left with 3 starting pitchers to cover 4 consecutive games. But it gets worse. Three of those games…are against the Reds this weekend. That means one of our starting pitchers – if all remains the same – would have to pitch on short rest against the Reds (most likely in Sunday’s game).
Typically, TLR would have two options to avoid starting a pitcher on short rest: 1) A bullpen start…2) A start by a Triple A pitcher activated for 1 day only. But both options carry complications as well.
Ideally, a manager would not want either of those options to take place against the Reds. As “improved” as the Nationals are supposed to be, they still are not Cincinnati. That means the most likely game for either option would be Thursday’s match against the Nationals. So let’s look a bit closer…
If we take option 1 and go with a bullpen start on Thursday, then a good portion of our bullpen – already weakened by Franklin’s struggles and the DL status of Augenstein and Tallet – will be well-used going into the Reds series (remember…the bullpen is likely to get heavy work today in the double-header as well). That is not something Tony wants.
On the other hand, if we take option 2 and go with a AAA starter – keep in mind we would be limited by who is due up in the Memphis rotation – then we have a slightly difficult roster complication. Having already activated Punto and Hamilton to cover Schumaker and Craig…and needing all hands on deck to cover two games today…the club is left without an easy roster deactivation to make room for a starting pitcher. Don’t forget, a player sent down to AAA must remain there for at least 10 days unless the big league club needs to call them back due to an injury to another player. So, a move to activate a AAA pitcher likely means the club would lose either Hamilton, Salas, Sanchez, etc. for at least 10 days to 1. Send 1 of them to AAA 2. Call up a AAA Starter and allow him to pitch Thursday 3. Send the starter back to AAA 4. Call up a different player than the one sent down in step one to cover the roster hole left open for the Reds series.
Ugh…of all the times to get a rain-out.
Well…I’m sure Dunc and Tony will figure it out. My preference, I think, would be to send Hamilton back down, call up a AAA starter (preferably Lynn if he’s rested), pitch him Thursday, then send him back to AAA, and then get Stavinoha on the 40-man to take Hamilton’s spot. I would love to see what Hamilton can do, but Stav is right-handed and has big league experience…and he can play more positions.
Okay…this should be interesting.
UPDATE: Lance Lynn appears to have pitched on the 16th in Memphis…which would put him on schedule to pitch today, I believe…which would mean just bumping him one day to pitch tomorrow on an extra day of rest. Hmmmm…