Sheets's Injury: The Big Picture

Whether Sheeter misses a couple of starts or a couple of months, this is a big deal, and we could talk about it all day.  (In fact, we probably will.)  But it's important that we get some perspective on the matter.

First, of course, it's awful.  Sheets has the potential to be one of the best starters in baseball.  Just because he's been off so far this year doesn't mean he couldn't turn the corner at any time; when he does, he'll win three out of four decisions and make everybody from Albert Pujols to Alex Gonzalez look silly in the process.  Even when Sheets isn't at his best, we're a much better team with him than without him.

But.  As odd as it is to be a position to say this, we're a pretty good team without him, too.  First off, we're leading the division and have a positive run differential even though Sheets has been seriously mediocre all year.  He's pitched much more like a #4 starter than a #1, yet somehow the team has survived.  Even with our uninspiring run differential, this team is on pace for about 86 wins, and Sheets isn't the only one who could pick up the pace.

Not only have we survived Sheets not being Sheets, but we have plenty of options to plug in even if (heaven forbid) we lose Benny for the entire season.  So far, Sheets has given us an average of six innings per start with an ERA of 4.50.  Do you think Carlos Villanueva could give us that?  I'll bet he could get close.  Yovani Gallardo could probably give us that.  Hell, Zach Jackson might be able to give us that.  We've got options.

While Sheets clearly has the potential to be the difference-maker on this team, it's becoming evident that that isn't the difference between a good team and a bad team.  It's the difference between a great team and a good team.  The 2007 Brewers could win 85 games even if we don't get another inning from him all year long.  And if that's the case, I'm pretty sure we could survive missing a couple of starts in the meantime.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can turn our focus to the real problem: Elmer Dessens.

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