Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Should We Schedule Saul for an Appointment with Dr. Andrews Now?

In 2006, Luis Ayala blew out his elbow while pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He had thrown 161.1 relief innings the previous two seasons and was leaned on heavily by the Mexican team. He hasn't been the same since.

The last two seasons, no pure reliever in baseball has thrown more innings than the 177 Saul Rivera has pitched. We just learned today that he'll be throwing for the Puerto Rican team in the WBC.

Other Nationals participating are Daniel Cabrera, Shairon Martis, Roger Bernadina, Pete Orr, Jose Castillo, and Jorge (not to be confused with alleged dirty bomber Jose) Padilla. But the one who really makes me nervous is Rivera. People tend to take RPs for granted, but Saul has been a rock for us. If he breaks down, a weak bullpen will become a disaster waiting to happen.

5 comments:

Hendo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hendo said...

(...hoping Blogger or whatever doesn't truncate my post this time...)

It's understandable to be nervous. However, isn't it true that Rivera has been pretty durable year in and year out, while Ayala was severely taxed in 2003-05 after pitching very few innings in 2001-02?

Not that we hope for Puerto Rico to work Rivera as hard as Mexico did Ayala, but Rivera should be better able to stand up to reasonable usage.

Steven said...

Yeah, but a lot of pitchers you could say they were durable... until they weren't.

My recollection is that Ayala had elbow surgery sometime in his younger days, but looking at baseball-ref he pitched a lot of innings for the Natspos in 03-05, especially 04.

Rob said...

If Padilla gets decent I vote to start calling him the "dirty bomber".

John said...

Ouch. Keith Law ranked the Nats farm system 29/30. "Jim Bowden's reign of error" made me chuckle.