Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Staying Power | Both Bill Liming and Shawn, in respective comments on yesterday's recap of the Phils' loss to the Rockies, argue that Randy Wolf should have been permitted to pitch longer in the seventh. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but they're not the only ones who feel that way. Both papers note that Wolf himself was none too pleased to get the hook from Larry Bowa. From Marcus Hayes's account in today's Daily News:

"Wolfie was on empty. He was beet-red. Out of gas," Bowa said. "Joe [Kerrigan] gave me a heads-up in the sixth."

"I told the manager I thought his stuff was getting short. It was a common sense, a very logical decision," Kerrigan agreed.



"[Bowa] said that?" he asked. Pause. Lips thin.

"I thought I pitched pretty well today."

Right...but were you tired at the end?

"I thought I pitched pretty well today. That's pretty much all I'm going to say."

Did you feel like you could have stayed in?


Did you want to stay in?

"It's not up to me."

This is one of managing's trickiest balancing acts. No pitcher will ever claim to be too tired to continue, and when you factor in pitch counts, matchups, and amounts of rest before and after the start, you begin to see why the decision is so difficult. Opportunities for second-guessing are wildly abundant; Grady Little is buffing his resume for just that reason. Not having seen Wolf pitch for most of yesterday's game, it's hard for me to take a side. It's hard to fault Bowa for putting the game in the hands of the league's best bullpen, but when a hitter as skilled as Todd Helton says, "I was just happy to see Wolf get out of the game. He was throwing incredible," well, you start to wonder.


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