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Brandon McCarthy wants to start

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I don't know what most of you may have been expecting from Charlie Haeger, but tonight's performance is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this.

I don't want a knuckleballer on my team. The knuckleball is just too unpredictable. I'd rather have a pitcher who I can count on to be mediocre than one who flashes moments of brilliance with lots of ineptitude.

The good news for Haeger is that he's both young (22) and has only been throwing the knuckleball for a couple of years. Knuckleballers take years to hone their craft.

What I'm saying is, you can't put too much stock into this one outing. Haeger could have just as easily thrown 7 innings of shutout baseball. With the knuckleball, you never know what you're going to get from pitch-to-pitch, inning-to-inning, outing-to-outing. I have no different view of Haeger than I did at 7:04PM CDT tonight. I was excited to see him pitch, but the novelty of a knuckleballer on the hill had worn off for me before he had issued his first of 3 walks to Orlando Cabrera.

The Angels changed their approach against the knuckler, and it showed. Take The OC, for instance. In his 3 at-bats against Haeger, he saw 18 pitches, swung at only one pitch (an inside fastball), and walked 3 times. The OC entered the game with just 6 walks and averaging 3.37 pitches per plate appearence. Yet he spent the entire time Haeger was in the game with the bat glued to his shoulder.

As soon as Brandon McCarthy entered the game, the Angels went back to hacking at everything. McCarthy got through 4 innings on just 50 pitches before departing by issuing an intentional walk, the only non-knuckleball-induced walk of the evening for the Halos.

McCarthy was the lone highlight for the White Sox pitching staff on the night. His changeup appears to be back, and his motion looked more under control. The two earned runs he allowed were largely a product of Ozzie Guillen's insistence on overmanaging his bullpen late in the game. Anytime you use 4 pitchers in an inning, that's a bad sign. I didn't really see the need to turn away from Neal Cotts, and the only reason to pull McCarthy was if he was on a pitch count (which I assume he was).

The bullpen exploded in the ninth which doesn't bode well for the rest of the week when you have to figure that McCarthy will be unavailable. He should get the start on Monday, which means we'll probably be seeing a lot more of Logan, Thornton, and even Haeger in the interim. That's a scary thought.

Update [2006-5-11 0:54:31 by The Cheat]: Rotoworld says Haeger was sent down following the game, no word as to who would be replacing him. If I was a betting man, my money would be on Sean Tracey. Even though he pitched 6.1 innings yesterday, Tracey is known to have a "rubber arm."

Update [2006-5-11 1:1:35 by The Cheat]: FutureSox says it will be Tracey, and they use the "rubber arm" line.