Starting Rotation Set

I haven’t blogged too much this spring because there hasn’t been very much to write about. It’s been a relatively quiet spring. But now that we’re a week away from the regular season it’s time to start writing.

The big news yesterday was the official coronation of Livan Hernandez as the fifth starter. This move had been anticipated since Hernandez established himself early in camp. With the demotions of Freddy Garcia and Jonathon Niese a week or so ago this was hardly a surprise. The hope is that he’ll be steady and be able to pitch enough innings so as not to wear out the bullpen at the bottom of the rotation.

I’m really not so worried about the fifth starter spot or the first. The questions come up when you look at who comes up between ace Johan Santana and Hernandez.

Mike Pelfrey, scheduled to start the second game of the season, had a great year in his first full season last year. Some people believe that the 200.2 innings he pitched may lead to problems this year. I don’t think last years innings will be a problem but it remains to be seen whether last year was an aberration or the real thing.

Third starter Oliver Perez is always a question mark. Not from season to season but from game to game. Last year he pitched several excellent games but finished the season with just a 10-7 record. That should indicate how he pitched when he wasn’t awesome.

John Maine, the third starter, is coming off surgery for bone spurs in his shoulder that ended his 2008 season early. He seems to be feeling alright but will he have his stuff when the games count?

Overall it’s not a bad rotation if everyone pitches on or close to their ability. But that’s a big if when you consider the inexperience, injuries and inconsistencies of the players that compose it. Being a cynical optimist I’d say they’ll be fine but I’m glad they have Garcia and Niese honing their skills at AAA Buffalo just in case.

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