PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 4: Jordan Lyles #41 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 4, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
My favorite line from Z in a while: Nights like Tuesday’s will not help as the Astros played the featured role in a bad night of baseball with not only the rain delay and sparse crowd but also a crescendo of lesser misplays and plays not made that built to the big error.
1) Six-man rotation and innings impact - And it's come to this. Houston will roll out a six-man rotation to save those precious, developing arms. Brian McTaggart looked at the career highs for some of the guys in his notebook talking about it Tuesday before the game. But, I thought we could go deeper.
Exactly how many starts might these guys be making? What is their innings limit and how close would they be at hitting that dreaded Verducci Effect (increase of 30 or more innings for under 25). Of the guys on the list, only Keuchel and Lyles are really in "danger." But, as we know, there's a lot more to it than that simple effect. This is just a nice place to start.
Innings this year: 159
Starts left: Sept. 10, Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30
Career high: 174 1/3 (2010)
Avg. innings pitched: 5.5
Possible total innings: 181
Innings this year: 159
Starts left: Sept. 11, Sept. 18, Sept. 24, Oct. 1
Career high: 158 2/3
Avg. innings pitched: 5.7
Possible total innings: 182
Innings this year: 165 1/3
Starts left: Sept. 7, Sept. 12, Sept. 19, Sept. 25, Oct. 2
Career high: 161 2/3
Avg. innings pitched: 6.2
Possible total innings: 196
Innings this year: 144 1/3
Starts left: Sept. 8, Sept. 13, Sept. 20, Sept. 26, Oct. 3
Career high: 186
Avg. innings pitched: 5.8
Possible total innings: 173
2) Changes to roster expansion - File this under, "Keep an eye on." It seems like these uppity playoff teams are trying to ruin September for all the up-and-coming teams with nothing to play for except seeing a lot of young players. Here's the upshot, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:
The most popular scenario being discussed is to expand September rosters to 30, with each club's 25-man roster on August 31 being locked in throughout September. Locking in the rosters at the end of August would prevent teams from de-activating the starters not pitching in a particular game in order to load up with four additional minor leaguers.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly have both spoken out in favor of changes to the September roster rules. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who is a member of Selig's committee, said that tweaking the rules would make sense "for a number of reasons".
3) Tom Tango Needs You! - That's right, you may have seen the FanShot of it Tuesday, but this is another call to help out. TheBook blog is putting together fan scouting reports on the defense of MLB players.
You don't have to rate all the players, just the ones you feel best about. You also don't need to look at any numbers. Go with what you've seen on the field. Here's what Tango asks:
I want you to tell me what your eyes see. I want you to tell me how good or bad a fielder is. Go down, and start selecting the team(s) that you watch all the time. For any player that you've seen play in at least 10 games in 2012, I want you to judge his performance in 7 specific fielding categories.
Houston only has 10 votes while the leader is Seattle with 73. We can get at least that many, right?