By Matt Snyder
The White Sox expanded their rotation to include six pitchers when Jake Peavy came off the disabled list and Phil Humber emerged as one of their more effective starting pitchers. Six pitchers in the rotation is certainly unconventional and many around baseball scoffed at the notion. But the experiment has worked well enough that the White Sox will continue to stick with six.
Meanwhile, top Astros prospect Jordan Lyles sparkled in his debut Tuesday night against the Cubs and ace Wandy Rodriguez is due back soon from the disabled list. After seeing the White Sox pull off the maneuver with relative success, some reporters asked Astros manager Brad Mills about employing the same tactic. He said that's not an option.
"It’s awful hard because you’ve taken a guy out of your bullpen now to do that," Mills said. "I just think that’s really difficult to do. You’re changing a whole process of what these guys have done their whole career. It’s almost like you’re trying to reinvent the wheel to an extent." (Ultimate Astros)
The White Sox aren't planning on sticking with the alignment for the entire season, as the Chicago Tribune reports a transition back to a traditional five-man rotation will take place "no later than the second half of the season because of days off on July 21 and 28."
In the meantime, the White Sox have pushed back struggling John Danks a day and will use Jake Peavy Sunday against the Tigers.
As for the Astros, they'll have a decision to make if Lyles has a solid second start Sunday against the light-hitting Padres. You know Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris and Brett Myers aren't going anywhere. It would be awfully tough to demote Lyles after seeing his promise -- again, assuming a good outing Sunday -- and that leaves Aneury Rodriguez. Being a Rule 5 pick, Rodriguez cannot be optioned to the minors without being returned to his former team (Rays), so the Astros would instead have to move him to the bullpen and option someone else.
The situations are both interesting in that it's good to have guys step into the rotation and perform well, but there are also veterans like Myers and Danks underperforming, which compounds the issue. With all the money and options and every other complication, it's nowhere near a simple meritocracy.
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