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Enjoy Your Offday

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Two days after insinuating that his right arm was tired, Chad Qualls was deemed unavailable to pitch by manager Phil Garner on Wednesday. Qualls, who gave up Albert Pujols' game-winning three-run homer on Monday, is 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA. He has thrown 30 innings over 26 appearances. Only closer Brad Lidge, who has 27 appearances, has pitched in more games for the Astros this season.

"He just needs to have a couple of days (off)," Garner said. "He just needed today."

   --From the The Chronicle's story

Chad Qualls Over the Last Seven Days
Date Game   IP H GB FB PIT BF
May. 25 @WAS L 8-5 2 1 3 0 23 8
May. 26 @PIT L 12-5 0 0 0 0 0 0
May. 27 @PIT L 8-7 2 2 6 1 29 10
May. 28 @PIT W 5-4 1 0 2 0 9 3
May. 29 @STL L 3-1 0.1 2 2 1 12 4
May. 30 @STL W 6-3 0 0 0 0 0 0
May. 31 @STL L 4-3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 5.1 5 13 2 73 25

Looks like littlevisigoth may have recanted, but anybody else having a hard time dealing with the peculiar bullpen use (or lack thereof) in the 11th inning yesterday? Anybody else find the numbers, and Garner's explanation unconvincing?

I never read the source story, but saylinara had said, ". . .[h]e's being punished by Gar for not telling him he was too tired to pitch the day Pujols hit the homerun and then snipping to the media about how tired he was."

I just hope that Garner wouldn't put his "punishment" in front of a victory, because while I can see bringing in Gallo, I can't see sticking with him past the point where two men were on. You had to do what you could to maximize the chances for a ground ball at that point. You gotta do what you can to fucking win, especially against the Cardinals, especially on a day of import like yesterday.

Showing faith in your players--even the ones who are less talented--is fine. Gallo has a roster spot, so it only makes sense to use him. But the other half of the job is "putting your players in a position to win," and after two men were on, Gallo was no longer the man in the best position to win.

Lidge was certainly an option, and the hallowed and sanctified "save situation" be damned. Witness LaRussa's use of Izzy. But mostly, I think of Chad Qualls. Seeing how 13 of the last 15 balls put into play against Qualls have been ground balls, it really makes you regret that Qualls' arm was so tired, according to Phil.

****

Hey, it's Drayton's money. He can do with it what he wants, and if he chooses to spend $640,000 per game for Roger Clemens, how am I to complain, with the rotation having been so substantially improved? And in a very real sense, Drayton is doing his part to pitch in for a richer baseball history, and I'd hate to appear niggardly in the face of that.

But we do all understand that there is no way McLane recoups his investment, right? A quick look at attendance is all that's necessary to prove this. The Astros have been averaging a little over 33,000 fans per game this year, with a capacity of roughly 41,000. Even if Clemens pitched to a packed house for the duration of the remaining season, and you figured a reasonable 25 bucks per extra ticket sold, it would mean that Clemens was basically returning 33 cents on the dollar. Allowing for extra tickets sold on other pitcher's days simply because the team is more in the hunt, and figuring in extra merchandise--still, you almost have to concede that McLane won't make his money back.

It's a lot of money. So much, in fact, that you kind of wonder why Clemens was asking for so much of it. I mean, good that the Astros won, but this was a poker game where the ante was ten million dollars. Given that even Roger admitted he hasn't exactly been hurting for pocket change in some time, you have to wonder why it took 14 million dollars to sign the guy. Roger knows his age--and the piss-poor ending his '05 season had--as well as anyone; usually when you're conducting business, the selling price is reduced in light of any risk the buyer might be taking. But Clemens was obviously in no mood to offer such a discount here.

And that of course was his right. It's repeated ad nauseum that it's not an athlete's fault if he takes what the market is offering.

But the next time you hear about how money-conscious Drayton McLane is, and how much Roger Clemens wants to win, you may want to wonder whether we have credited the wrong attributes to the wrong men.