Playoff thoughts

Well, the Cubs and the Brewers are both one game away from elimination.

My team, the Brewers, lost to the Phillies 5-2 after super-pitcher C. C. Sabathia gave up those five runs in the second inning. That was only his third loss in his half-season for the Brewers. This was his fourth consecutive start on only three days rest.

I have this against my team: They did not treat Sabathia ethically. Yes, they just “rented” him in a desperate and successful move to get to the playoffs. They picked him up from Cleveland because after this season he is a free agent and neither team would be able to afford him. Arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now, he may bring around $150 million on the open market. If that is, he doesn’t blow out his arm.

If he does, that wouldn’t matter much to the Brewers, who only have him for this season. So the Brewers had him pitch a league-leading 253 innings and a league-leading 7 complete games. And then for the playoff run the Brewers started him on only three days rest four times in a row.

Yes, Sabathia was both willing and eager to do so, which only shows his heroic stature. But his team did not show his class. We are not supposed to use people up and then throw them away.

Feel free to bring up other playoff-related thoughts this weekend. . . .

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    I don’t know if I agree with that assessment. We all know a picture can say no – just ask Ben Sheets, he pulls himself all the time. I see nothing wrong with the way they pitched C.C.; other than that he was probably too tired to do well yesterday.

  • PeteS

    You may be right about the Brewers intentions, but it’s been brought up by many that, back in the good ol’ days, pitchers regularly pitched on 3 days rest. I did have concerns, however, that somehow this would come back to bite them. CC, to his credit, only blamed himself for his poor pitching.

    The way Bush had been pitching, I thought it would have been better to bring him back on 3 days rest or pitch McClung last Saturday than to try Sheets, who obviously was not right. Then they could have pitched someone else on Sunday and had CC pitch the opener vs. PHI. Of course, none of it matters much when you can’t hit. I am a Corey Hart fan, but he’s been in such a slump. Why in the world would you swing at the first pitch when the pitcher has just walked in a run? At least the fans in MKE will be able to experience a playoff game, and they’ll only have to see one loss at home, not two like the Cubs fans.

  • Bruce

    This concern for CC had also crossed my mind over the past week. I’m probably with Joe on this however. CC must bear much of the responsibility for pitching this often–he has been insistent on it.

    I’m not at all surprised the Brewers are down 2-0, and will probably be swept. That lineup hasn’t been hitting well since August; those youngsters struggled any time they faced a real challenge (Boston in May, the Cubs in July, and September’s limp).

    What I am surprised by is this Cubs team. I had them going to the WS this year. It’ll take a memorable comeback for that to happen now. I hope they pull it off.

  • http://www.blog.seekhim.org Larry

    A very interesting post. As a Philly native, I’m quite happy with the results last night. But I thank you for helping us to think through the issue of whether CC is being ‘used.’

    While I certainly agree that we are not supposed to use people up and throw them away, I am not certain that this is what’s happening here. Sabathia earns $ 11 million this year, and I’m assuming Milwaukee pays him half of that, since he pitched half a season for them. Is it really unethical to use a guy for a ton of innings when you are paying him A TON of money to throw a baseball?

    I think your post raises another issue of ethics: is it ethical for baseball’s salary structure to allow big-market teams like NY, Boston and Chicago to spend all the money they can afford to get the best players in free agency, while smaller market teams like Milwaukee, Kansas City, etc. cannot afford to compete with the elites?

    That is why, though a Philly fan all the way, I really appreciate teams like the Tampa Bay Rays who dethrone the big-spenders. Baseball has shown over the past 7-8 years that spending the most money does not guarantee a championship parade. But the whole system seems unjust to me.

    Larry

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Well said on the pitcher, but along with others pointing out what pitchers used to do, I have to point out that the big issue is probably not as much rest as it is mechanics. Remember Kerry Wood’s troubles as the Cubs never bothered to fix his throwing motion as long as he was getting Ks?

    It suggests to me that baseball’s biggest problem is that it’s starting to sever itself from its intergenerational nature–where Granddad and dad take the young one out into the backyard and such.

  • Paul

    CC will be okay. He is only 28 and at 300 pounds a little bit of extra throwing shouldn’t hurt him too much. He will still get the 130 million dollar contract after this season. I sure hope the Brewers win at home and CC can close out the series…on four days rest.
    Paul


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