Still Buying the Idea of Pulling Starters Early and Other Bullets

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Still Buying the Idea of Pulling Starters Early and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

tsuyoshi wada featureI get terrible headaches in the morning when I don’t get enough sleep, especially when it’s multiple days compounded on each other. Anyone else get that? Any tips out there other than “get more sleep” or “take aspirin”?

  • Tsuyoshi Wada was pulled after just 69 pitches last night in the 5th inning, though he’d just entered his third time through the Padres lineup, Derek Norris (who kills lefties) was up, and there were two runners on (plus Wada had just chugged around the bases in the top half of the inning). As I said in the EBS, I think pulling him was the right move, and not just because it worked out. The Cubs’ bullpen was very well-rested, and the game otherwise could have been lost in that moment. The nice thing is that Wada was efficient enough through his 4.2 innings, and, based on pitch count, very much would have been in a position to go six or seven innings. What’s clear, though, is that certain pitchers – Wada, Kyle Hendricks, and Travis Wood (if he ever re-enters the rotation) – will not be permitted to keep going in the 5th/6th/7th innings if (1) they’ve entered the third time through the order, and (2) have gotten into any kind of trouble whatsoever.
  • Some folks rebel against this idea since the starter may not have given anything up all game, but the whole point is to get the guy out of there before he gives up too much damage. Pulling him early guarantees that, even if it leaves the manager open to criticism if the bullpen blows it – which, of course, is totally unfair, because we can never know what would have happened if the starter had stayed in, and history tells us that most starters tend not to get any better when they’re facing guys for a third and fourth time in a game. This is something Joe Maddon has done consistently all year, and it’s one of my favorite things he’s done. When the bullpen blew a game, I never thought, “Aw, man, Maddon should have left Hendricks in.” Instead, I thought either, “Well that was a bummer, but sometimes that happens even if it’s the right move,” or, “the Cubs probably need another bullpen arm.”
  • Some of the comments here from Miguel Montero back up the early pull on Wada last night, by the way.
  • Even after the three critical errors in the infield on Tuesday, Joe Maddon isn’t getting reactionary about the need to bring up Javier Baez and shuffle the infield deck ( Baez’s time will come eventually – Maddon’s only message is to stay ready. I’d add, as I did when I wrote about the topic earlier in the week: I’m still not sure that bringing up Baez, moving Kris Bryant to left field, and putting Chris Coghlan on the bench is the best move right now (and that was before Coghlan hit two homers on Tuesday).
  • The hope is that last night’s 4.1 inning effort by the bullpen can be a confidence builder (CSN).
  • Miguel Montero says he’s noticed that Hector Rondon maybe gets a little too amped up when he allows a baserunner, and sometimes needs to step back and take a breather before proceeding (Tribune).
  • The annual Hot Stove Cool Music benefit is coming on July 9, and it is for Theo Epstein’s Foundation to Be Named Later charity. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, and they tend to go very fast. More details here.
  • If you missed it earlier this morning, Luke wrote about the ugly outfield collision at Tennessee involving Albert Almora, Jr. and Bijan Rademacher. The duo is being evaluated more today, and, while it seems like there aren’t any broken bones, you just don’t know what’s what until a day or two later when the exams have taken place and soreness sets in.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.