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The Angels used an AL record 12 pitchers yesterday

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It’s easy to overstate how big a deal expanded rosters in September are. In the past some have argued, with a straight face, that allowing teams to have as many as 40 dudes in the dugout in the season’s final month is a threat to competitive balance and integrity. Theoretically I suppose that’s true, but it’s not like anyone can point to a situation in the past in which a team has unduly suffered or benefitted from expanded rosters, missed the playoffs or anything like that. People just like to complain about the perceived unfairness of it all.

But even if they don’t actually work any identifiable injustices, expanded rosters can be annoying, aesthetically speaking. The least exciting thing that can happen in a baseball game is a pitching change and when you dump a half dozen or more extra relievers into already overstuffed bullpens, you encourage managers to use ’em all. Like Mike Scioscia did yesterday.

The Angels used an American League record 12 pitchers in their 11-inning win against the Athletics. The major league record is 13 pitchers, set by the Colorado Rockies in 2015, but that was in a 16-inning game. Here three Angels pitchers didn’t even record an out. The game lasted four hours and thirty-eight minutes. Woof.

I get why rosters expand in September. The minor league season ends those guys have no place to go. Clubs get a chance to look at new faces in a big league setting with (usually) low stakes. But it does create a boring and sometimes tedious product. It seems to me that it’d be much better if, instead of expanding rosters and allowing all members of the 40-man to play in any given game, teams were able to designate 15 players to call up during expanded roster time, but still require teams to use only 25 guys in a given game. Before games and after games you can designate your 25 and, in September only, switch those people in and out on a day-to-day basis as you see fit, irrespective of the usual disabled list/option/callup rules.

Or we can just continue to let managers run a dozen dudes out there for a nice five-hour day at the ballpark. Either way.

Aaron Judge has a “pretty significant strain” of his oblique

Aaron Judge
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In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Yankees suffered yet another huge blow when another huge star went on the injured list. The star: Aaron Judge, who strained his oblique during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals.

Yesterday the Yankees placed him on the injured list. In so doing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called it a “pretty significant strain in there.” The team did not offer a timeline, but Boone said they’ll monitor Judge for a couple of weeks to see where he is. Oblique strains, however, can cause a player to miss a lot of time. Four to six weeks is not unheard of for even moderate oblique strains. Guys with major strains have missed months.

Judge is the Yankees’ 13th player currently on the injured list and is the 14th Yankees player to visit it overall on the young season. Joining him there at the moment :

It’s an All-Star team’s worth of injuries. It’s such a good group of players that Ellsbury couldn’t even make the starting lineup of the all-injured team.

Though we often ignore it in season-long narratives of successful and unsuccessful teams, choosing to focus on great or poor performances, the fact of the matter is that team health is almost always a big, big factor in who wins and who loses. No one is going to cry for the Yankees here, of course, but at some point there are just too many injuries to overcome. One has to wonder if New York has reached that point yet.