When Jake Westbrook was sent to the DL, many questions arose about who would fill his spot in the 5-man rotation.
Indians manager, Eric Wedge, knew that he was forced into quite a pickle. Pitchers Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey we're both very qualified for the job, but Wedge knew only one could be taken for the second opportunity to make an impression at the big leagues.
Let's go back to last year.
As Cleveland began their 2007 season, their rotation consisted of CC Sabathia, Paul Byrd, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook, and Jeremy Sowers. (on paper, not including injuries)
After a promising 2006 debut consisting of a 7-4 record with a 3.57 ERA, people were expecting Sowers to have a larger role and potentially be C.C's right-hand (or in this case, left-hand) man for many years to come. As the 2007 season progressed, those ideas quickly began to diminish.
It seemed that Sowers had the notorious "Sophomore year slump" as his record through seven decisions was 1-6, dragging a mediocre 6.42 ERA to make things worse.
Fans didn't know what to think. Even worse, who could the Tribe call up to replace him?
It turns out that the injuries to Jake Westbrook and Cliff Lee at the beginning of the 2007 were a blessing in disguise, as this allowed Fausto Carmona and Aaron Laffey to eventually get their opportunities.
Carmona, after a dreadful attempt at closing in 2006, easily became the Indians comeback player of the year after putting up spectacular numbers.
Laffey, who didn't get his chance until closer to the end of the season, exceeded expectations and showed great potential as he recorded a record of 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA, giving up only 2 home runs in over 49 innings.
With all said and done, with injuries put aside, it became clear that Sabathia, Carmona, Byrd, and Jake Westbrook were really the only four returning starters guaranteed a spot in the rotation in 2008.
Cliff Lee was eventually given the thumbs up after a solid spring season, just beating out Sowers and Laffey. (apparently Lee is doing pretty good)
The two young pitchers began their seasons at AAA-Buffalo.
Laffey has jumped to a 3-1 record and a 3.13 ERA and has continued from where he left off from last season.
Sowers has improved the key aspects of his mechanics that spoiled his 2007 season, and has started by going 0-2 with a 3.18 ERA.
On Wednesday, the Indians-Royals match-up was postponed due to rain, and a doubleheader was scheduled for the following day.
The Indians ended up winning both of these games, but they were now given a new scenario for pitching. With both Jake Westbrook on the DL and Fausto Carmona now having to pitch a day ahead of the schedule, the Indians needed two pitchers to fill the gaps.
Both Sowers and Laffey got the thumps up.
Now there is a new problem unfortunately: With Laffey only being needed for one game, and Sowers already being told he is the replacement for Westbrook's spot on the rotation, do you stick to your word on Sowers or do you instead choose who has the better performance during the next several days?
Well Eric, I guess some situations can never be avoided.
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