Purgatory Online

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Given Scot Shields's pair of scoreless innings in relief last night, I hereby cease my wondering about why he was removed from Tuesday's game. However, it's undeniable that the four-man rotation has put some stress on the bullpen. Here's where we stand:

Donnelly threw 21 pitches last night and 24 the night before.

Shields threw 31 pitches last night and 18 the night before.

Rodriguez threw 42 pitches last night. He did not appear in either Monday or Tuesday's game.

Kevin Gregg threw four pitches last night, but is otherwise fresh.

Additionally, the Angels do have Ramon Ortiz and Aaron Sele in the pen for long relief, as well as Scott Dunn and Matt Hensley, neither of whom has pitched since September 22.

Lackey has gone at least six full innings in each of his last five starts, and has gone at least seven in three of those. In each of those five starts, he's given up either one or two runs.

Realistically, the goal this afternoon is to get Lackey through six, throwing around 90 pitches or so. If he's pitching well, however, a seventh or even eighth wouldn't be out of the question, since Lackey is the one Angels pitcher who will not throw again in the regular season unless there's a one-game playoff. I suspect that every reliever but Shields will be available if it comes down to it, but it would obviously be kind of nice to go into Oakland with those weapons primed and ready to fire.