Daily Notes: Now with Less Cistulli

Before we begin, a brief note: Carson Cistulli will be celebrating in the French style for the next week (that sounds dirtier than I meant it) and will not be able to note things on the daily. As such, he’s foolishly enlisted several other writers from across the ___Graphs family of websites to fill in. He assured us that there is no pressure, as no one will read these things anyway. Anyway, the Daily Notes, for better or for worse, will probably be slightly different from that to which you are accustomed for the rest of this week. And now, the noting:

– Tonight we would have been privileged to watch Jose Fernandez make his 29th start and marvel at the fact that the Marlins were so unbelievably right that he could handle the jump from A-ball to the Majors (leaving aside questions of service time, which are unseemly). Instead, now that Fernandez has been officially shut down, we will see a 25 year old Sam Dyson, who I have never heard of but who I am assured is a real human male, start his first Major League game.

Let’s resolve to harbor no ill will toward young Mr. Dyson, who succeeded on what I’m going to call craftiness and guile in the minor leagues, despite striking out fewer than five batters per nine innings. Based on this alone, it’s unlikely Dyson gets more than what would have been Fernandez’s last two turns before he is DFAed this winter and is invariably signed by the Minnesota Twins.

But back to Fernandez. Throughout baseball history, successful innovation has been quick to catch on around the game. The curveball, the fielder’s glove, the three-man rotation, platooning, the four-man rotation, integration, the five-man rotation, the closer, etc. Monkeys saw, and monkeys did. Teams adapted to the new paradigm or they died. Yet, here are the Marlins following the Nationals’ lead in shutting down their young ace with more of the season left to play. The Twins did the same with Kyle Gibson (though that, also, could be described as a mercy killing), and the Mets were planning to do it with Matt Harvey, before his perfect elbow perfectly exploded. Where is the evidence that this works? At least the five-man rotation had the Big Red Machine and the closer had Rich Gossage to validate them. All this new strategy seems to have is Stephen Strasburg, whose forearm is sore as we speak, and a lot of “I dunno, I heard other people are doing it.”

Bill Baer does an excellent job of exploring this idea over on Hardball Talk. Intuitively, sure, it makes sense that pitching less would protect pitchers more, especially in light of all the evidence that demonstrates that overuse leads to injury. And I certainly would rather teams err on the side of caution, and acknowledge they have a much better idea of what their pitchers are feeling than I do. But as Harvard-trained sports physician Marcus Elliott notes, we’re bumbling around in the dark in many ways. It’s going to look awfully funny if and when we find out that the only thing we prevented by artificially limiting the number of starts an at risk pitcher makes was our own joy at getting to see the game’s best young pitchers more often.

Johnny Cueto last threw a pitch in anger on June 28, when he was removed after re-straining a lat muscle in his right side. In all, this will be just his 10th start on the year, but it has turned out that the Reds haven’t really needed him all that much.

With Tony Cingrani fighting back spasms again, however, Cueto is going to rejoin the rotation tonight without so much as a rehab start, since all the minor leagues have closed up shop for the year. On the bright side, he gets to face the closest thing to a minor league team at the major league level, in the Houston Astros.

If Cueto’s healthy and effective, and if Cingrani can recover in time, it leaves the Reds with a pretty interesting dilemma as they try to set their rotation for the postseason. Latos and Bailey are locks, but if you can definitively figure out who to turn to between Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, Cingrani, and Cueto, you’re a better man, woman, or child than me.

Wil Myers has been quietly excellent for the Rays, and will deservedly get the American League Rookie of the Year award. He also does incredibly naughty things to a baseball, as he did yesterday against Twins lefty Pedro Hernandez:

That ball traveled some 440 feet. Note the aw shucks look on Myers’s face on those replays and think about how hard it must be to remain humble when you can do that.

And, finally, your NERD scores:

NERD Scores

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Mike Bates used to have a stupid pseudonym. Now he doesn't because people want to pay him to write about baseball on the Internet and he's really a sell out that way. He is also a Designated Columnist at SBNation, co-founder of The Platoon Advantage, and is an American Carpetbagger on Getting Blanked, the finest in Canadian baseball-type sites. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/commnman

15 Responses to “Daily Notes: Now with Less Cistulli”

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  1. Robert J. Baumann says:

    Dustin “Screech Powers” Diamond is from Milwaukee, or lived here for a long time. I’d be inclined to claim him for the game at Miller park today, but I’m much more enamored of Anthony Michael Hall, in any role.

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  2. Yaya Pigwius says:

    If they had shut down Cistulli before Labor Day his rookie year, maybe he wouldn’t need a French-style whatever right now.

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  3. Hi mom says:

    I found “note things on the daily” to be the dirtiest sounding part of that first sentence.

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  4. canuckassassin says:

    You are an adequate replacement for the Italian.

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  5. matt w says:

    “It’s going to look awfully funny if and when we find out that the only thing we prevented by artificially limiting the number of starts an at risk pitcher makes was our own joy at getting to see the game’s best young pitchers more often.”

    Just like that scene from Sleeper:

    Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”

    Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

    Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?

    Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

    Dr. Melik: Incredible.

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  6. Devin says:

    From all I’ve read about him Wil Myers is anything but humble.

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  7. David says:

    Of course Myers looks humble after that home run, any sign of emotion and some veteran is going to plunk him to send some stupid message.

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  8. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    No Phil and Lem from Better Off Ted?

    Am I the only one who watches that show?

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  9. CubsOfTheNorth says:

    I really want to watch Ceuto’s start, but that would mean having to watch Erik Bedard pitch…

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    • On MLB TV, you can watch games after they’ve started from the beginning and by 1/2 innings (except the 9th). I have watched entire Jose Fernandez starts without seeing his team bat. This works better on the West Coast since the game’s over by the time I’m settling down.

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  10. Steve Holt says:

    Days with the new author on the beat: 1
    Number of days it took for a low shot at the Astros: 1

    To be fair, only their bullpen and numbers 6-9 in the batting order have been minor league. The rest of the team has been a bunch of legitimate major leaguers that could possibly play on the reserve bench for another major league team.

    So yeah, closest thing to a minor league team at the major league level seems about right, actually.

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  11. Derek says:

    I fully expected Bill Parker to be the nerd for the Twins game.

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