It didn’t take long. Following Tuesday afternoon’s loss the Robin Ventura announced that though Hector Santiago would be getting the start Wednesday, Chris Sale is back on the schedule for Saturday and won’t be receiving the extra rest.
Hey, another rotation shuffle! With the division being as tight as it is, folks have been looking ahead to a potential game 163 and it looked as though a Sale/Verlander matchup was in line, should it be necessary. Made sense, both teams would do well to target having their best starters ready for game 1 of the playoffs should they make it, game 163 should they need it. That is no longer in the cards, as Robin has shuffled the rotation once again. Hector Santiago will pitch Wednesday against the lefty heavy Indians lineup. As Jim Margalus pointed out yesterday when the idea of starting Santiago was floating around, the Indians aren’t faring too well against lefties, and it would be a good time to insert Santiago, if you were going to at all.
So what does this mean beyond the series? For starters (unintentional pun, I swear!), it moves Jake Peavy to Thursday to pitch against the Rays, and sets Sale up for Sunday, both with an extra day of rest**. This time of year, the extra rest can be extremely helpful for tiring arms, particular for a pair of arms that have either thrown more pitches than they have in many years, or ever in their lives, in the case of Sale.
But what about game 1? In game 1 of the playoffs or game 163, Sale would be available out of the bullpen if needed but will not be pitching either game on short rest, according to Robin Ventura. Of course, everybody is subject to more shuffling as it’s down to do or die time and what looks like it will work today might not look like it will tomorrow. Further, should the Sox happen to drop a couple and find themselves looking up at the Tigers instead of down, it might be a necessary risk to try whatever the hell might possibly maybe work at all the last couple days of the season. Not that I advocate any panic decisions.