Looks like you can ignore all of my complaining about Scott Elbert not being put in a good situation to start today, because after his bullpen work, not only is he not starting, he’s not even on the team anymore, having been optioned to AAA to provide for Ronald Belisario’s return. In what has to be be one of the oddest sequences I can ever remember, Elbert was announced as the starter, only to be replaced by Jeff Weaver after Elbert had to be used, and then Weaver was replaced by “TBA” when he had to be used in relief.
So we spin that pitching wheel and land on… *no whammys, no whammys, stop*! Eric Stults! For the record, two of my three roster predictions from Friday have now taken place, and we’ve yet to see a corresponding roster move to make room for Stults. If James McDonald gets a one-way trip to New Mexico, I’m going to start buying lottery tickets.
As for Stults, this is clearly the right choice. It’s no secret that we’ve been fans of his for quite a while around here, and while he’s never going to be Clayton Kershaw, he has proven that he can have short bursts of success in the big leagues. And isn’t that all you need out of a 5th starter?
Stults has almost no history against Atlanta – only three current Braves have faced him, and each of those was only one at-bat each – but considering his history of getting off to good starts once he returns to the majors after a long layoff, that could work in his favor. Besides, he managed to go at least 6 innings in his last 5 starts in the minors, before being pulled after 3 IP on Thursday in anticipation of having to start for the big club this weekend.
Eric, we’ve been pulling for you all season around here. So no pressure or anything, but between that, the club wasting Kershaw’s great outing last night, and the uncertainty about Chad Billingsley’s leg, you really need to go at least 6 innings today and get this team a win. Aren’t you glad you’re back in the majors?