Thursday, June 21, 2012

Westbrook Dilemma Solved - But What Took So Long?

When Cardinals' veteran hurler Jake Westbrook began the season pitching like Cy Young, I thought he had discovered some mysterious new technique; maybe a new mental approach to pitching, which translated to a remarkably low ERA and WHIP, which of course, translated into wins.

Not exactly.  His early season success seems to be based on something quite simple - an extra day's rest. Yesterday, when he pitched brilliantly against a formidable Detroit Tigers team, he was working on five day's rest; not the customary four day's rest.  So far this season, Jake has made thirteen starts - seven have been with five day's rest; six with four day's rest.  Six starts.  Four day's rest.  In those six starts, Jake has managed to win one game, posting an ERA of 6.00.

By contrast, when given five day's rest - like he had in yesterday's win over those Tigers - he has won five games, posting an ERA of 2.50.  The net effect for Westbrook and the Cardinals has been six wins and six losses.  Okay.  Maybe I'm being a little picky, but I'm trying to understand why it has taken so long to come to the conclusion that this guy should work all of his games on five day's rest.

At least I hope that's the conclusion Mike Matheny has reached.  I don't know.  Maybe he'll test the "four day's rest" theory in July or August, just to make sure Jake is still ineffective with one less day to rest up. What's another game to toss into the loss column?  Big deal.  The NL Central offers no challenge as it stands.  Let's give the Reds and even the Pirates a fighting chance to win the division title.  It's only fair.  They hardly ever win.

Actually, I don't really want to give any team in the division a fighting chance.  I want the Cardinals to win every game they play.  I want them to dominate the rest of the division; the rest of MLB.  I want them to win another World Series championship.  I got spoiled after last year's miracle run.  It's a lot more fun to win.  Since winning isn't so easy, no matter how much talent a team possesses, I don't think it's a good idea to throw away a half dozen games - in essence, giving the other team another 3.5 runs per game - just for the hell of it.

So yes; I'm glad the Cardinals won a game.  In the process, it seems like the Jake Westbrook dilemma has been solved by allowing him to pitch on five day's rest; not four.  I just can't quite understand why it took so long to figure this out.

Thank you for allowing me to vent; I feel better.  I don't even know if the Cardinals won or lost today.  It was 1-1 in the fifth-inning.  If they lost; so be it.  Maybe they'll keep winning most of the games a well-rested Jake Westbrook starts, going forward.  That would be a nice way to get back into first place, where they belong.

Believe it or not, I feel better about the Cardinals' postseason prospects now.  Yeah.  12 in '12, baby.

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