I know this is a bit of non-sequitur, as it's not really related to his usage in the game tonight, but who really wants to relive a beatdown at the hand of the Royals?
We're 5 weeks into the '10 season, and one thing is becoming crystal clear. Actually, there are plenty of things that have become clear, but we're not gonna focus on those painful subjects coughTeahen'sDefensecough. Even though he was cleared for high-leverage work in the first week of the season, Sergio Santos is being treated with kid gloves.
- Only once has be been allowed to work more than one inning
- Only twice has he been allowed to sit down in the dugout and head back for more mound time. And one of those was his first high-leverage work unloading the bases against the Twins.
- He's faced more than 4 hitters in an outing once
- He's thrown more than 20 pitches twice. (21 on both occasions)
- He's thrown on back-to-back days twice (not really enough to go on here, especially when the Sox have as many options as they do)
It's clear that Ozzie and probably the front office have consciously made an effort to protect an arm that doesn't have much mileage on it, one that figures to be the heir apparent to the closer role once Bobby is shipped out. I don't have a problem with that, especially if they've got some data to back it up; i.e. something that shows a short-term or long-term detrimental effect from going from 45 innings pitched to 70.
After tonight, Santos is on pace for 60, so perhaps I'm overreacting. It just feels like he underutilized, especially when Ozzie turns to Randy Williams in a winable game when Santos is sitting in the pen digging through Jenks' bag of candy.