More Rotation Woes For The Braves
John Smoltz is hurt. Another hit to the Atlanta rotation. Chuck James should be recalled. The Braves should most certainly not bring Jo-Jo Reyes up. Until he can prove to throw consistent strikes, Reyes should stay in Richmond. With Reyes, the bullpen would be more overused than it currently is. That's something the team definietely cannot afford. We're talking about a guy who can't make it to the 6th inning under 100 pitches.
Chuck James, however, has not produced extremely consistently in the early part of this season, but he still needs to be in Atlanta and not AAA Richmond. The Braves can't afford to keep pulling him up, sending him down. With Smoltz out for who really knows how long, not having to use James in the rotation while he figures things out in the minors is not a luxury the team has. James could be plugged into the fourth spot in the rotation, staggering the first four starters right, left, right, left, respectively (Hudson, Glavine, Jurrjens, James). This would keep teams' hitters off balance in each series, never being able to keep the same lineup in consecutive days, further complicating them getting into any grooves. As things stand right now, Atlanta really may not be forced to use a 5th starter until they go on long stretches of consecutive games. They, in theory, could survive maybe even into June with four starters.
If the Braves elect not to bring back Chuck James, and do wish to use the guys they have, the fourth spot should be reserved for Jeff Bennett (who has pitched well this season when used in that role), and the fifth spot could be tried with the somewhat surprising Jorge Campillo. Campillo should get a shot at the job because he throw consistent strikes, attacks hitters, isn't afraid to let his defense make plays behind him, pitches maturely, and keeps hitters off balance. In baseball, when a starter goes down with an injury, you need someone to step in and throw strikes until the other starter can come back. Be serviceable, not dominant. It's very similar to football, where when the starting QB goes down, his back up doesn't need the most talent, he doesn't need to win you ball games, he just needs to not lose you ball games. That's why, often times the third QB may be more talented, yet looser (and probably younger).
On another note, what the hell is Bobby Cox doing leaving in his "closer" for three innings in a one-run 12-inning game? He knows, just like every other person in the world, that Manny Acosta will throw the ball all over the park when he exceeds five outs. Furthermore, he left him in to hit for himself in the top of the 12th with two outs and runners on first and second. The Braves had a few solid bats still on their bench, who, as real hitters, could have provided a single that would have given the team some insurance runs. I love Bobby Cox as much as anyone, but since last season, there have been a few instances like this. It seems that he's slipping... or just being stubborn.
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