Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Derek Smart
After three innings on Saturday the scenario I envisioned went something like this: Glendon Rusch goes the to bullpen, Rich Hill gets called up to take his spot in the rotation, and David Aardsma gets a chance to hang out with Michael Wuertz in Des Moines.
I still think that's what's going to happen, although that exact scenario coming to pass depends somewhat on how the next couple of days go with respect to bullpen usage. If Marshall and Guzman can each go at least six, then nothing beyond what I presented above will likely go down, but if either or both struggle, I'd expect another move that brought Wuertz back up to the club, if only to get a fresh arm in there. In fact, if a move like that is necessitated, I'd expect a revolving door of sorts: Aardsma goes down in the next day or two in favor or Wuertz, who then goes back down himself in favor of Rich Hill.
However, all that maneuvering skirts the real issue, which is that if one takes his performance since, say, July of last year into account, Glendon Rusch needs to be shown the door. He has a 6.67 ERA in 89 innings since that point, allowing a startling 117 hits, and while that includes his horrendous start to this season, his recent numbers should be fuel for his release rather than a mitigating factor. Anytime a pitcher gives up 11 home runs in 22.1 innings, it's time to reconsider not just his role, but his place on the roster.
Let me put this another way: At the end of play this weekend, Albert Pujols, on an amazing tear to start the season, is sporting a .346/.509/.914 line - just vicious stuff. The line allowed by Glendon Rusch in his first five starts has been .348/.438/.841, turning entire teams into vast armies of Pujolses. Glendon seems like a awfully nice fella, and I appreciate all he did for the club in 2004, but that Glendon isn't coming back, and it makes no more sense to wait for him.
UPDATE: Somehow I missed this bit in the Sun-Times this morning which implies that my first scenario is coming to pass. It's not official, in that no announcement has been made, but what Mike Kiley reports sure looks like a done deal - Aardsma down, Hill up and pitching on Thursday, and Rusch to the bullpen.