By Jason Wojciechowski on May 13, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Adam Berry wrote in his MLB.com preview of tomorrow's A's-White Sox game:
Losing an ace like Braden from the starting rotation, potentially for the remainder of the season, will thrust the rest of the starting staff into the fire -- putting increased responsibility on each pitcher to play a more prominent role. But Oakland manager Bob Geren isn't worried in the least about his staff of Ross, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Brandon McCarthy, who took the loss Friday night despite giving up three earned runs over seven innings.
In fact, Geren doesn't see the loss of Braden as putting any additional pressure on his pitchers.
"It's not really fair to label numbers on these guys -- fifth starter, fourth starter. They're all starting pitchers for the Oakland Athletics, and they're all doing very well," Geren said. "We don't feel a huge difference on a given night on who's pitching. We feel like they're all throwing the ball well and if we get them some runs, we're going to win. It's a good feeling as a team to know that."
A's fans may like to call Bob Geren "Bobo", but he gets the better of Berry here. How does it make any sense that Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, or Brandon McCarthy would have any additional pressure? They were starters before Braden went down and they're still starters now. They'll throw the same innings in the same games. The A's will win or lose in part based on how they pitch regardless of what happens in the fifth game that is now manned by Tyson Ross instead of Braden.
I suppose you could argue that the other four pitchers have to step up to raise their collective probability of victory to match the decline from Braden to Ross, but that's absurd. We're talking about fractions of odds here, and we're into the clutch argument besides, which assumes that players are holding something in reserve for "when it matters". I'm pretty sure Brett Anderson is going to try his hardest to throw a shutout every time out whether his teammates are four Felix Hernandezes or four Nelson Figueroas.
This is all aside from the fact that Berry calls Braden an "ace", which would be hilarious if it weren't so sad that Berry apparently thinks anyone good enough to crack a major league rotation counts as an ace.