Purgatory Online

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's looking more like Colon will miss his start on Saturday, apropos of which Mike DiGiovanna in the Times notes the following:

Would the Angels be better off using left-hander Joe Saunders as an
emergency starter and keeping Escobar, who threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and
escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh inning against the Red Sox on
Tuesday night, in the bullpen?

"Some guys [in the bullpen] have struggled, and
having a power arm like Kelvim's could take some pressure off the other guys,"
Scioscia said. "But you have to balance that with the impact he could have

DiGiovanna coyly does not indicate whether or not Scioscia was actually asked that question, and, if so, whether his quote was in response to it. Stating that Escobar could be used in two different ways is, of course, utterly non-responsive to the question of which of those two ways serves the team best.

As far as I'm concerned, it works out like this: if Saunders pitches on Saturday, the worst possible scenario is that he gets pounded and the Angels lose one game. If Escobar pitches Saturday, the worst possible scenario is that the Angels lose three or four games because they don't have him available to come out of the pen. I grant you that the former is more likely than the latter, but even so I find it difficult to believe that the comparative advantage of starting Escobar over Saunders versus the White Sox is greater than that of having Escobar available to shut down the Red Sox, White Sox, and Mariners in the late innings.

Addendum: Of course, things do change significantly if Escobar simply isn't needed in relief tonight or tomorrow. In that case, it's a much closer call. My preference, then, would be to use Escobar in relief if he's needed, and otherwise delay a decision on Saturday's starter until after Friday's game. Which seems so logical and intuitive that I despair of seeing it come to pass.