Here’s something that’s sure to warm the battered cockles of Jays fans hearts: J.A. Happ will get himself a turn in the rotation on Monday in Philadelphia, bumping… nobody, but giving the rotation an extra day of rest, and the bullpen — chalk as it inexplicably is full of long men — another day of headache. Or so tweets Scott MacArthur, though not in nearly so many words.
The club had talked about toying with the idea of giving Happ some spot starts (which is all this really is — there is no six-man rotation to get apoplectic about) to help ease the load on the rotation during a run of twenty straight games with no off day, so it’s not entirely surprising, but… really? Is this, like, a thing that teams do now? A rotation of two veteran plough horses who won’t touch 85, a 23-year-old Drew Hutchison who looks fine, a Brandon Morrow who many would rather see not to being coddled, and a Dustin McGowan who needs to keep showing something to shake off the “seat-warmer” tag, seriously can’t go four turns through without an extra day off somewhere?
Well… OK, so maybe the fact that none of the three non-plough horses has thrown over 200 innings in a season — and the closest any has got was McGowan’s 191.2 way back in 2007 — is reason enough to not entirely try to run them into the ground. I get that, even if acting on such a thought at this point in the season is premised on the notion that they’ll all make it to September healthy and still in the rotation, which, for at least two of these guys, is not something most would bother even contemplating betting on.
But maybe that’s the point. Maybe the club thinks there’s a better chance that Morrow and McGowan stay healthier for longer if they get just a little bit of extra rest. And maybe they’re concerned that the third one, Hutchison, has yet to break the 150 inning mark in his career, and is coming off a season in which he threw just 57 across multiple levels.