Rethinking the rotation: Four-and-swing?

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Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan is always good for a big idea column or two each month, and his latest is one that I’ve long been arguing half-drunkenly to anyone who will listen (i.e. no one):  chucking the straight five-man rotation and going to a modified four-man thing. The idea would be to keep your four best on a firm four-days-rest schedule, skipping the fifth guy as often as possible.

As Passan shows, using the Tigers, Rangers and Angels as his examples, such a plan gives your team’s four best guys anywhere between one and three extra starts and simultaneously takes away that many starts from your worst starter.  And if you’re smart about who that worst starter is, you can give yourself something that is a vanishing breed: a bona fide long man/mopup man in the pen.

Passan notes the obstacles to this, chief among them that baseball people tend not to engage in too much original thinking unless they can help it, but he makes all kinds of sense in my view.

Problems?  Other ideas?  That is, other ideas keeping in mind that no one is going to go to a straight four-man rotation in this day and age.

Rays starter Jake Faria lands on disabled list with left oblique strain

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Jake Faria made a third-inning exit from his start Tuesday night against the Red Sox, shortly after allowing three-run homer to Mookie Betts, and the Rays have now placed the 24-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.

It sounds like it could be a 4-6 week absence.

Faria has turned in some impressive performances this season, but his last three outings haven’t been so hot and he holds a rough 5.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 37/22 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 total frames for the year.

Tampa Bay now has two healthy starters: Chris Archer and Blake Snell. The extreme bullpening shall continue, haters be damned.

Vidal Nuno has been called up from Triple-A Durham and could see some action out of the rotation. He was sporting a 3.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 37/3 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings (seven starts, one relief appearance) this season at the Triple-A level.