Monday, September 19, 2005

Why Yabu Now?

Harden Should Be Shelved For '05

Our boy from Japan nearly threw away our playoff hopes, tonight.

With 12 to play after tonight the unscrupulous emergence of Keiichi Yabu from a mop-up man to a frontline middle reliever seems foolish, at least, in late September.

Yabu has pitched well this season but has been usually reserved for long relief appearances and games where the game has been decided.

Sure, tonight's near debacle was a relative blowout with the A's leading 7-1 in the top of the ninth, but it was nearly the second time in three games that Yabu has been involved in agonizing situations.

Last Saturday in Boston, Yabu was on the mound to hit Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez with the bases loaded to drive in the game-winning run in the 10th.

So, why Yabu and why now? He's been regulated to the back end of the bullpen and now Macha has thrown him into the pennant race fire.

Macha should think twice before Yabu takes a place in A's dubious playoff lore next to Terrence Long and Jeremy Giambi among others.

On the condition that the A's advance to the playoffs, this was to be the year when the starting rotation was set.

There wouldn't be a situation where you have someone like Gil Heredia pitching Game 1 or the back half of the big three pitching on three days rest as in past years.

The bullpen's role were even carved and well known until now.

The A's are saying that pitcher Rich Harden will most likely not start another game this season, but short bullpen appearances are well within in rehab.

Are we going to have another situation where the A's pitching staff that rests on routine throughout the season and successfully, only to have the entire operation muddled by changes in the all-important off-season?

The question becomes this: Do you risk changing the bullpen's roles during the last two weeks of the season and hopefully the postseason by adding a guy who hasn't pitched in a month or does a little bit of Harden's fastball better than nothing?

It would probably be better to shutdown Harden now before he really gets injured and not have him until 2007. If he can rehabilitate to 40-45 pitches as the A's are saying and--not the customary 100-105--then he's not ready for the pressure of the pennant race.


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