Weekend one of the double barreled Carlos bullpen has come and went. Ted Lilly has made his return and we’re ready to move forward. What I can’t help but wonder is why Lou didn’t go with the six man rotation rather than move Z to the pen. To me, it makes the most sense for a couple reasons.
1. It allows your starters to work deeper in games
The whole reason and justification for this move to the pen is to “give the Cubs an 8th inning guy” to get the ball to Marmol. Right now I see no problem with James Russell and Sean Marshall being the guys to get the ball to Marmol in the 9th. Obviously you can’t pitch them every day of the season, but if you simply had to alternate them in the 8th, you’d need your starter to go seven innings each start. That would probably involve 120+ pitches in each start, which on the whole sounds terrible. When you think about it for a second, the six man rotation means an extra day in between starts and less starts overall in the season from 32 to 27. Less overall workload.
2. It keeps people in their natural roles
Pitching out of the bullpen is a completely different animal. It takes some time, especially for a starting pitcher, to get used to pitching out of that role and having to warm up on short noticed. Carlos Zambrano has never pitched out of the bullpen. Tom Gorzelanny has, but was unsuccessful to say the least. That leaves Ryan Dempster who not only has said he prefers to be a starter, but is also our best starter, and Carlos Silva who is pitching out of his mind. It’s really not fair that any of the six arms be sent to the pen to pitch in a role that none are really ideal for.
3. It prevents the hostility and hurt feelings
Tom Hanks said it well when he said “There’s no crying in baseball”, but unfortunately we see it every day. Players don’t get the at bats they think they deserve. They don’t get the call up when they feel it’s warrated and they get shipped to the pen when it’s far from their wish. We saw this last year with Carlos Marmol. After serving his time behind Ryan Dempster as the setup man, he was then asked to compete with Kevin Gregg for a spot as the closer that he felt was promised to him. The result was erratic command and what looked to be a loss of confidence in his ability to make hitters look bad at the plate. When this move came out last week, Carlos Zambrano was under the impression that it was temporary (it still may be). When asked to clarify, Lou has continually danced around the question and refuses to give an answer as to the length of Z’s stay in pitching purgatory. You can’t tell me that the non-committal attitude from Lou mixed with Zambrano’s volatility isn’t a recipe for one heck of a mixed drink. I can’t see it ending well if Zambrano is in that pen for more than a few weeks.
What are your thoughts? Would a six man rotation work?
From now on, Coffee Talk will only be M/W/F with Dave bringing us the news on T/TH. Enjoy the day and let’s get a win tonight.