With 13 starting pitchers used this season, the Padres could take home the modern record by season's end.
On Tuesday night, Kip Wells started a big-league game for the first time since October 2009. By starting for the Padres, Wells became the 13th San Diego pitcher to do so this season. Unsurprisingly, San Diego leads the league in starters used (by two), and could set history. Since the 1998 expansion, no team has used more than 17 starters in a single season. Three teams, however, have reached 17: the 2003 Reds, the 2004 Rangers, and the 2006 Royals. The Padres’ pace is blowing those three teams away:
Plus broken Braves, scary news for Kip Wells, and deepening mystery for Travis Hafner.
John Smoltz (30 DXL)
Nothing's changed with Smoltz since I wrote about him yesterday-besides perception. The problem is that with Smoltz's announcement, first that he was willing to move back to the pen, then that he would be at least starting out in the pen when he returns from the shoulder problem, how this latest injury was seen changed quickly and sharply. However, there's no basis for it. Smoltz's shoulder isn't better served by his being in the pen, and in fact Smoltz had just as many problems while in the pen, fatiguing at the end of the season just as he has as a starter. The real problem is that we're in May and Smoltz is experiencing the same kinds of problems-inflammation, impingement, and pain-that he has at the end of the season. He's made just a handful of starts, and with each, the recovery period has stretched and the shoulder has swelled more, to the point where Smoltz's shoulder was swelling during his last start. Asking him to recover from shorter outings might appear to be different enough to allow him to stay more productive, but there's no evidence to support it; a sprinter and a marathon runner do vastly different tasks, but their bodies fatigue the same. Pitching isn't the enemy; fatigue is, and until we get a better understanding of that in both general and specific ways, we'll be talking about this again and again.
When it comes to his starting rotation, Walt Jocketty understands replacements don't have to be replacement-level.
Even before the St. Louis Cardinals assembled in Jupiter, Florida two months ago to begin spring training, they were written off by almost everyone as having little chance to repeat as World Series champions. The Cardinals won the National League Central with just an 83-78 record last season, then got hot in October, going 11-5 in winning series against the Padres, Mets, and Tigers en route to the franchise's 10th world championship, and their first since 1982.
The pedestrian regular-season record of a year ago is one reason why few seemed to take the Cardinals seriously coming into the 2007 season. An even bigger reason was the state of the Cardinals' starting rotation. Jeff Suppan, Most Valuable Player of the seven-game victory over the Mets in the National League Championship Series, left for Milwaukee and a four-year, $42 million contract as a free agent. Also departing as free agents were right-handers Jason Marquis to the Chicago Cubs for three years and $21 million, and Jeff Weaver to Seattle for one year and $8.3 million.
The Transaction Analysis you have been waiting for. Saunders. Izturis. Guzman. Cormier. Hernandez. Reyes. The names are all here, and only Christina can sort out the right from wrong, and the stupid from the just obtuse.