For posts like these to mean anything, we need more games, and by "games," I mean "samples," which are what games are called in this cold, hard place.
This afternoon, I offer sad news for those pulling for J.A. Happ to have a long, fruitful career in the starting rotation. Including the 2008 postseason, Happ has been a Major League reliever for about two months. That means he’s drifting into the danger zone of being typecast as a reliever, instead of living the good life as a 26-year-old starter floating in and out of the minor leagues, drinking mojitos by the pool with the likes of J.D. Durbin.
Of course I’m being facetious, but the fact is, when you’re 26 years old and lose out to Chan Ho Park in a rotation battle, you’ve reached a fork in the road. The good news is that when you’re a southpaw, the road can fork in your favor as left-handed relief is always in demand, and teams pay well for the privilege.
With zero minor league preparation, Happ has done okay in relief. He surrendered a two-run bomb in a wacky win over Atlanta, then pitched 2 1-3 shutout innings in a 10-3 loss to Colorado. Neither “sample” was high leverage, but as long there are routs, and as long as Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre command the late innings, someone needs to clean up the mess. And for Happ, it’s a starting point, and an escape from the starting rotation trap.
Speaking of small samples ... the following roster moves have worked based on seven games: Jack Taschner; Matt Stairs. We’ll ignore Park’s first start, as it throws a wrench into this entire post.
Drabek: Here's Kyle Drabek's line today: 7 IP, 4H, 0R, 9K, 0 BB.