Friday, August 07, 2009

What About a Four Man Rotation?

Brad Thompson getting suspended, while Guillermo Mota walks free, is an absolute farce. Hitting a guy up by 13 to protect your hitter is OK, but buzzing a guy up by 7 to protect your hitter isn't? Mota threw with intent, Thompson didn't.

Anyway, on one of the recent United Cardinal Bloggers Radio Hour shows, Pip from Fungoes raised the question of LaRussa going with a 4-man rotation. After all, Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson, and Mitchell Boggs haven't exactly lit up the scoreboard. Well they have lit it up, just the wrong way - 10-15, 5+ ERA. Why not just skip that spot in the rotation?

This idea intrigued me.

Starting tomorrow, the Cardinals have 59 games left. With a 5-man rotation, that's 12 starts each for the first 4, and 11 for the #5 slot. With a 4-man rotation, that's 15 starts each for Carpenter, Wainwright, and Piniero, and 14 for Lohse.

There are a number of off-days between now and the end of the season - 6 to be exact. If they line up right, then the Cardinals could skip 6 starts by the #5 guy. This is good, right?

Well, it's not that good. The off days don't line up exactly like one would want:

6 Aug - Off day
6 games
13 Aug - Off day
10 games
24 Aug - Off day
6 games
31 Aug - Off day
9 games
10 Sept - Off day
6 games
17 Sept - Off day
6 games
24 Sept - Off day
10 games
End regular season.

CC Sabathia threw his last 4 games in 2008 on 3-days rest. Not everyone is CC Sabathia. I definitely don't think the Cardinals will try and pitch Carpenter on 3 days rest, given his medical history. I doubt they'll take that chance/accept that risk with Wainwright or Piniero.

So, if they try to keep them all on 4 days rest, the off-days don't help, and they'll have to use a #5 starter 9 times.

So LaRussa would save himself two starts from Wellemeyer's replacement.

Doesn't sound like its worth it. I like the idea of going with a rotation of Carpenter, Wainwright, Piniero, and Lohse, but it won't work in practice. Sorry, Pip.

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