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Wednesday Morning Rockpile:

I don't know where Garrett Atkins' glove has gone this season, but John Walsh notes that even he was good last year, on Colorado's overall very solid defending team.

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Okay, about last night. The good news was Taylor Buchholz. Bad peripherals or not, the six shutout innings and quality start (even if against a bad offensive team like the Cards) were a positive step in his development, as he hasn't had a start like that since the beginning of last July. Negatives from last night were that seventh inning and the rest of the offense besides Holliday and our two left handed sluggers. Only three out of eight players providing any value in the lineup won't usually cut it.

Clint Hurdle's management? He was in a tough bind thanks to the injuries and personnel he has. Buchholz hadn't thrown more than 70 pitches this season, and given the pitches Taylor had thrown season to date, it's easy to see why Clint would want to shut him down with the positives he had from the start without pushing luck much further. As Dan repeatedly pointed out last night, going to the bullpen after six in that situation isn't necessarily unwise, and the choice of pitchers to use at that point was limited. Bautista had performed okay for us up to that point. Heck, even after last night he maintains strong peripheral stats. This was a chance for him to prove he could handle the high leverage situations, and he missed it. What do you do...

Alright, at least Rami and LaTroy Hawkins are coming back, and in an insightful team report at FoxSports.com, they mention that "a major realignment of the pitching staff is looming."

Let's look at it right now, with the ERA+ of each pitcher:

Starters:

  1. Aaron Cook 97
  2. Jeff Francis 76
  3. Jason Hirsh 111
  4. Josh Fogg 75
  5. Taylor Buchholz 73
Relievers
CL: Brian Fuentes 151
8th: Manny Corpas 247
7th: ???

Jeremy Affeldt 100
Zach McClellan 173
Denny Bautista 59
Tom Martin 43
Alberto Arias 134

Soon to be off the DL:
Ramon Ramirez (undefined)
LaTroy Hawkins 50
Rodrigo Lopez 268
Byung Hyun Kim 41

So what's the solution? It would be easy to just pick the top numbers and say we'll keep them and see you later to Martin, Hawkins, Kim and Bautista (he'd get bumped by Buchholz moving back to the pen) and even though I know some readers here would like that, that might not be entirely in the best interests of the team. We can't ignore the progress Kim has made in the Springs, for instance, and just write him off. His act has worn thin with the organization, but he still might be one of the best pitchers we have available.

Martin is fungible, plain and simple. Rami certainly has to have a prominent place in the mix. Thanks to his performance, I'm of the opinion that we definitely need to keep McClellan around, too. Maybe Buchholz isn't the right starter to replace when Rodrigo returns, maybe it's Josh Fogg. Given how desperate other teams are for pitchers, somebody's got to be willing to take a chance on him or Kim. Bautista and Arias both can probably use more time in AAA, but they're on the verge of readiness, and Hawkins has been unimpressive. One thing that's pretty clear to me (besides cutting Martin) is that there's no easy solution here without a trade.