Don’t expect Phillies to use any starters on short rest

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Chris Carpenter’s first career short-rest start didn’t go well Sunday in Philadelphia and when asked if he’d ever use a Phillies starter on short rest during the playoffs pitching coach Rich Dubee made it pretty clear that he’s against the idea:

Most real good players at this level get accustomed to a routine. Apparently that was Carpenter’s first whack at it. That’s a strange beast right there. You’re going from your normal side day. Then you’re third day generally you can kick back and relax mentally. The fourth day you get ready to pitch. Now all of a sudden you probably didn’t have a side day and you have shorter rest and shorter preparation time.

That’s about as close to criticizing the opposing manager as someone can come without making headlines and creating bulletin board material. And in terms of potential Tony La Russa nicknames I think “strange beast” is a pretty decent one, accidentally.

Of course, in fairness to La Russa there’s a whole lot less need to use a starter on short rest when you’re pitching coach for a team that has four No. 1 starters. Philadelphia’s rotation is so deep that Roy Oswalt is basically just a spot starter and Vance Worley is in the bullpen, so pushing Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee to pitch on three days rest isn’t really necessary even if Dubee agreed with the strategy.

With that said, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com notes that Dubee has also been true to his word in past seasons when the Phillies weren’t quite as stacked with aces, resisting the urge to use go short rest with Cole Hamels in the 2007 NLDS, Cliff Lee in the 2009 World Series, and Roy Halladay in last year’s playoffs. Things might be different if the choice was between, say, Halladay on short rest or Joe Blanton, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has made sure Dubee and manager Charlie Manuel never have to make that type of call.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.