When your only starting pitcher who remembers how to pitch gets hurt, you know a diary is going up. Here's the latest:The Brewers were cautiously optimistic late Saturday about the health of ace right-hander Ben Sheets, who was forced out of his start in the fourth inning with a sprained middle finger.
The injury occurred to the distal joint near the fingernail, and X-rays taken during the game were negative, Sheets said. If symptoms persist, he will undergo an MRI scan on Monday, at which time the team will know more about Sheets' availability to make his next scheduled start on Thursday against Arizona.
Apparently, for the morbidly curious, the "distal joint near the fingernail" is the smaller knuckle near the fingernail, in this case on his middle finger. Seems like a painful thing to sprain. "Distal" is from the Latin, meaning "Goddammit, put Gallardo and Villanueva in the rotation, for Chrissakes.""Something happened on the last pitch," Sheets said. "I felt something pop, snap. I don't know what it was. But I knew, when the trainer got out there and tested it, that there weren't going to be any more pitches today."
I know much has been made of Sheets's recent spate of injuries. But have you noticed how his injuries always "pop"? I think he's 80 years old.Especially because the rest of Milwaukee's rotation has been struggling. They have one quality start -- defined as six or more innings with three or fewer earned runs -- in the team's last 11 games. Brewers starters are 2-5 with a 6.21 ERA in that span.
Jeez, I knew our starters were bad, but 6.21? Criminy. Last year, I had (half-kiddingly) accused Jenkins of performing well only when the pressure was off --- his second-half surges always seemed to coincide with the point where we were pretty much out of contention. I hope we don't have to wait until September before we get our starting pitching straightened out. Powell said on the post-game that before yesterday's win, the Brewers were 0-18 when the offense scored fewer than 4 runs. That's just sad. (On a lighter night, Powell had previously said something along the lines of "Well, when you go into extra innings, you need more lube." I think he was talking about the Carmex giveaway, though.)Should Sheets miss a start, right-hander Yovani Gallardo would slide into that spot in the rotation. Gallardo pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief on Saturday night and is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his three Brewers starts.
If Gallardo does make a start or two, pitches well, and enables us to pick up a couple of wins, I wonder (or hope) there will be extra pressure to keep him in the rotation. I'm not sure which is more valuable: to keep him in the pen and continuously bail out our starters, or to have him start. Personally, I think you have your best pitchers starting, but there is something to be said for having someone in the pen to stop the bleeding, especially the way our starters have been hemorrhaging of late.