What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Let me preface all of this with a very, very, VERY important caveat:
ONLY IF WE WIN THE WEST WILL WE BE IN THE PLAYOFFS AND WE HAVE NOT YET WON THE WEST.
Conventional wisdom maintains that you drop your long man, put your 5th starter in the bullpen, and take an extra position player.
I want to suggest a different course of action that compensates for the Rangers current very unique starting pitching situation of coinciding depth and inconsistency. The main idea is that we ought to create a series of fallback measures to give us a chance to win a game in which our starting pitcher comes out and doesn't have it that particular night. Hear me out....
Ogando is suddenly very shaky whether this is because of fatigue, familiarity, or lack of mixing pitches. Harrison has been your classic workhorse all year but with little dominance and is having fatigue problems. He has got himself into more jams and worked out of almost all of them it seems. But you worry about playoff pressure and the world's best offenses bringing that all to an end during the playoffs. CJ, Colby, and Derek are playoff rotation no-brainers. Unless Ogando gets his mojo back fast and starts mixing in his changeup with great effectiveness I think he is the most likely not to make the rotation cut with Harrison coming in a close second.
Bottom line is you have Colby who has been inconsistent but will likely be good during the playoffs, you have Derek who could be brilliant or awful, you have Ogando who is a total wild card right now, and you have Harrison who has pitched great but doesn't have stuff as good as Ogando and Holland do, and who is struggling with fatigue.
In Colby, Derek, Harrison, and Ogando you have four guys who could be really good or who might be sort of bad. In Feldman you have a guy who could possibly be a great starter for you considering his brilliant performance last time out.
So you set the rotation at CJ, Colby, Derek, and Ogando/Harrison (whichever is better), and you keep Feldman and Ogando/Harrison in the bullpen not only as long men but as alternate starters. An alternate starter is told that he might be pitching if the guy you are going with doesn't have it in the 1st or 2nd inning. The alternate starter warms up and prepares mentally as if he is going to start a playoff game, but he only comes in if the starter fails to establish a good groove in the first or second inning.
This would necessitate keeping a 12 man pitching staff and foregoing an extra position player (that means Craig Gentry or other wouldn't be on the roster). In my mind it also necessitates going to a 6 man rotation for the remainder of the year to get Feldman stretched out and ready to pitch as well as giving the other guys good rest while still keeping them sharp.
This is how your pitching would look:
FelizAdamsUeharraOliverLoweTateyama/Gonzales (I suppose its really a competition between Lowe, Gonzales, Tateyama, Oliver, and even Ueharra as to who will get the last spot in the bullpen)FeldmanHarrison/Ogando (I don't know who will make the rotation but I think Ogando has better raw stuff if he can pull it together)
Starters: CJ, Colby, Derek, Ogando/Harrison, and with Harrison/Ogando and Feldman serving as alternate starters or long men depending on needs. The benefits are that you don't have to stick with your starter if he doesn't have it. Further, if this happens more than once in a series you have two alternate starters who could come in and cover for a bad start while you try to win the game. The regular season mentality of having to stick with your starter should not apply in the playoffs especially on a team with such starting depth and during a series with travel days that will rest the bullpen. The starter would be placed under even more incentive to perform because he has a guy warming up right next to him who could come in to help in the first or second. Its sort of like a vulture starter but in a good way. Its about the team winning no the starter.
I am not sure what that would do to a starter's mentality, whether it might motivate by adding incentive or demotivate if the guy feels in the back of his mind that he's got relief coming he might not try as hard to find his stuff or if he feels like he doesn't have it at all he might not try to find it.
Bottom line, in the playoffs it is no longer necessary to stick with a starter who doesn't have it if you have two highly motivated alternates right behind him who are very good pitchers. Further, there is less incentive to avoid going to your bullpen because they have travel day rest and of course they are a very good bullpen. Finally, if you never need your alternates they could add to the strength of your bullpen in case you have problems out there with rust or ineffectiveness as we did last year during the ALCS and the World Series.
The whole 25 man playoff roster in this scenario:
Hamilton CruzChavezMurphyKinslerAndrusBeltreBlancoYoungMorelandNapoliTorrealbaTreanor4 starters 8 Bullpen including 2 alternate starters/long men
PS I suppose Feldman might really be in contention for that 4th playoff rotation spot as well. I just don't want to retype everything to reflect that I realize that. If Feldman proved to be your best 4th starter over the home stretch then you place Ogando and Harrison in the bullpen as your alternates.
I'd be inclined to agree with you, as I expressed the same concern in Amigo de Andrus' original post the other day. I think that would give you LH and a RH long reliever. I think Gonzalez is in, being LH and pitching really good again. I'd say the odd man out then would have to be Tateyama. Lowe is pitching well. Oliver too, plus he is LH. That would balance your BP 3 LHP / 3 RHP wise.
....uehara is making the roster, thats for sure. and the rangers would take gentry before endy. he is a righty and plays better defense
If Feldman continues to pitch like he has the last two times he pitched you might see Feldman start in the playoffs. He might force the issue. Colby sure hasn't done anything this year to make you confident. Harry I think will be fine and Dr Holland or Mr Hyde that is the question.
Endy's offense is better than Gentry's. That won't be the only factor, of course, though. But someone else said that, with only 4 starters usually needed, we can add another position player (like Treanor) without pulling an outfielder. And I think, at the moment, we ought to be able to use all 5 guys we've used most of the year...among them we have 3 lefties and 2 righties, so we can platoon as necessary. That would give us 5 outfielders, 5 infielders, 3 catchers, and 1 DH, but with a lot of flexibility. I love that we can use anyone to DH because, unlike some teams (ahem, Boston), our "regular" DH isn't a slow guy that can't play the field anymore. MY and Nap can play infield if needed. And so on.
Regarding Uehara: if he settles down and pitches like he has most of the year, he's a shoo-in. If he isn't able to adjust well enough in the next month, I think we have to go with someone else. We have plenty of talent in the bullpen, so if anyone just flounders this month I think we'd have to think twice, or thrice, before adding them to the postseason roster. Assuming we make it, of course.
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