Hello again everyone from heavenly southeast Michigan, where the weather today was in the upper 70′s with a gentle breeze, almost no humidity, and nary a cloud in the sky. Makes you appreciate it even more when you look at the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Having ridden out Hurricane Andrew in south Florida in 1992, I do have an appreciation for what the east coast is going through.
While the Braves are enjoying the 3 day break in competition they are in the midst of as a result of the postponement of Saturday and Sunday’s games versus the Mets, the upcoming 17 games in 16 days after the unplanned off-days has wreaked havoc with the Braves starting rotation. After having considered a plethora of options, the Braves have announced their plans starting Tuesday at home against the Nationals.
Obviously, the extra days of inactivity mean that the Braves starters will be taking the mound with lots of extra rest, which is not always a good thing with starting pitching, which tends to thrive when done to the tune of a finely tuned schedule. The Braves even toyed with the idea of sending Mike Minor or Brandon Beachy to the Minors to start on Monday and/or Tuesday on basically regular rest. The thought was that they could rejoin the team with the rest of the September call-ups and then take their next turn in the rotation. The problem with this idea is that they would have to stay in the Minors for 10 days or at least until the season ended for the team they were assigned to. This would have meant that neither would have been available to the Big League Braves until September 5th, which is beyond the point where the team would need a fifth starter. After having gone back to the drawing board, it was decided that perhaps the young arms of Beachy and Minor could use a little extra rest this late in the year, so it was their starts that got pushed back the most.
The resulting order has Jair Jurrjens opening the series against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday on two days extra rest, followed by Derek Lowe on Wednesday on three days extra rest. Tim Hudson will start Thursday’s series finale on only one extra days rest. Beachy will start Friday’s opener at Turner field against the Dodgers on three extra days rest, while Brandon Beachy will follow on Saturday on a whopping 6 extra (ten total) days of rest, effectively skipping a turn in the rotation.
I actually give Fredi Gonzalez and Roger McDowell extra credit for looking at this situation from every possible angle. I think the resulting solution, while not ideal, is probably about as good as could be done under the circumstances. Hudson is probably the starter that would respond the worst to the extra rest, as his sinker has historically shown that it will flatten out if Hudson is too strong. Ordinarily I’d say similar things about Derek Lowe, but given his propensity to give up a blowup inning every start lately, I think extra rest will be good for him (as I can’t think of anything else to try). And keeping some gas in the tank of Beachy and Minor for the playoffs is a good thing, even if they aren’t as sharp as normal in their next start. Being realistic, it’s not likely that the Braves are going to catch the Phillies, nor is anyone else likely to catch the Braves for the Wild Card. As such, it’s time to start arranging our arsenal for the playoffs.
That’s my take, at least. I would enjoy hearing yours.