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In Defense Of Jimy

There are quite a few callers on the local sports talk radio lately questioning Jimy Williams's management of the starting pitchers. Talk has focused on the fact that no starter has pitched a complete game.

I'm going to defend Williams on this one.

But first, let me backtrack and say that as a baseball purist, I *like* the way Larry Dierker handled his starters. He let them pitch deep into games, and to work out of jams. That's how baseball used to be played, even if few teams do it that way anymore.

And now, back to Williams. I don't know his rationale, because the dreadful local sportswriters really can't bother themselves to try to get him to talk about such matters (and he doesn't volunteer much). But given that your setup-closer combo of Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner is allegedly one of the best in the league, and that Drayton McLane is certainly paying Wagner top wages for a closer, then maybe shooting for 7 innings isn't such a bad idea. Especially since quality starting pitchers are a rare commodity and a big investment, and that saving wear and tear on them is probably a good idea if your bullpen is reliable. That the Astros must rely on the farm system to produce their starters (since Drayton won't spend what it takes to get a Clemens or keep a Johnson or Kile or Astacio or any other big-name free agents since the Drabek/Swindell moves) is probably even more reason to try and limit their innings and not overpitch them.

I don't know if any of this is going through Jimy's mind, or Hunsicker's, but I'll offer it as a defense anyway. The lack of complete games is one thing that I don't really consider a problem for this year's team, which has many bigger problems.

[Posted at 17:48 CST on 07/18/02] [Link]

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