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Riding the hot hand

For the second straight outing, Jon Garland labored through the early innings before settling down to allow just one run. That extra work cost him, however, in the form of a triple-digit pitch-count before he got out of the 6th inning.

With a 9-run cushion, and an expanded bullpen, Ozzie made the right call to give Garland the rest of the night off. If there's one thing we've learned this season, it's that the starting pitching can disappear without notice. Ozzie needs to protect his one 'sure thing' in the rotation.

Garland has been amazing since mid-June. In 108 innings pitched, he's allowed just 5 HRs. And 3 of those came in the same game, his only loss over that span. That's 16 starts, and he's kept the ball in the yard in 13 of them. What makes that stat even more amazing is that Garland had allowed 19 HR in his first 12 starts.

Ozzie's decision to pull Garland looked much worse when a trio of relievers took a dump all over the 7th inning. Though, no manager looks good when the mop-up men struggle to protect a 9-run lead. (Guillen wasn't the only manager in the park who thought the game was over. Wedgie pulled Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez before the damage was really done.)

  • I didn't see Mr. Logan pitch at all, so I can't say anything about his outing; except that I probably would have left him out there until he at least surrendered a run. Was he all over the place? Getting smoked? His minor league numbers tell me that he's got the stuff to get it done at the show. We really need him with Cotts as unreliable as he appears to be now.
  • McCarthy had his 3rd straight embarrassing outing, but will be fine. He really isn't cut out for the pen. I just hope he proves he's cut out for the rotation next year.
  • Dustin Hermanson, well, he got the first out he needed, which is more than I can say for McCarthy. The HR he served up, however, is probably just a harbinger of what's to come from him in his mop-up role. He got a fastball -- I use that term loosely. I think might have challeged him to some speed pitch after the game -- up and out over the plate that Cleveland's 3rd or 4th string thirdbaseman smoked out of the park.
Ozzie looked better in the 9th, when he stuck with Mike MacDougal, who had breezed through the 8th inning on 10 pitches. As I said yesterday, I don't want to see Jenks in a save situation until he proves that he's healthy with some lower leverage innings first, and didn't really see the need to make the call to the pen for Matt Thornton. The crowd obviously felt the same way, as Thornton was greeted to a chorus of boos.

It wasn't Thornton they were booing. They just wanted Ozzie to stick with the hot hand. I'm sure Ozzie probably said in his post-game presser that Jenks is still his closer and that he was just playing the match-ups, but expect him to do a lot more 'playing the match-up' until Jenks proves he's healthy.

* * * * *

Charlotte got bounced from the International League playoffs Saturday night, so more reinforcements are on the way, most notably, Josh Fields. I'm not a big fan of Fields, but we've seen the need for a lefty-masher on the bench a number of times over the last few weeks, and that's one thing Fields does well. He's also become increasingly important because Joe Crede's back is pretty bad. I heard his say that it hurts to swing, it hurts to field, and it hurts to run, which pretty much describes everything he would have to do in a typical baseball game. Crede's already received a cortisone shot, and has been told that he'll definitely need to undergo off-season surgery, so maybe hanging onto Fields isn't such a bad thing.

Fields was also held out of the starting lineup in Charlotte tonight because of injury, though his was only a bruised thumb, and he was used later in the game as pinch hitter. I wonder if he can get to Chicago by noon?