No, Yovani Gallardo still isn’t an option for Game 6 of the NLCS on Sunday

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Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before last night’s game that Yovani Gallardo wasn’t an option to start Game 6 on Sunday and he isn’t wavering now that his club is facing elimination.

According to Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Roenicke confirmed that Shaun Marcum will indeed make the start as scheduled, thus saving Yovani Gallardo for a potential Game 7 on Monday.

“Yes,” Roenicke said when asked if Marcum would make the start Sunday at Miller Park. “I’m not going to bring Yovani (Gallardo) back (on short rest).”

Marcum’s struggles date back to the final month of the regular season, but he has allowed 12 runs on 14 hits in 8 2/3 innings over his first two postseason starts. While Roenicke has mostly chalked his poor performance up to some bad luck, one thing we do know is that Marcum isn’t throwing his changeup nearly as often as he did during the regular season. He threw the pitch 8.9 percent of the time in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks and 15.2 percent of the time in Game 2 against the Cardinals on Monday. Widely regarded as the best pitch in his arsenal, he threw the pitch 24.8 percent of the time during the regular season.

As I noted yesterday, this will likely be an all-hands-on-deck situation if Marcum gets into any early trouble. Chris Narveson only faced one batter on Friday, so he would likely be the first arm out of the bullpen if they need multiple innings.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?