Charlie Haeger’s already issued 4 walks, hit a batter, and is headed towards 80 pitches - and we’re only in the third inning as I type. Memories of his of 1312-strikeout debut have already faded away, judging by the message boards and Twittersphere.
Remember, the fates aren’t exactly aligned to help Haeger here, either. Not only is he faced up against reigning Cy Young Tim Lincecum, but Manny, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, and Russell Martin are all on the bench. Their backups have showed some atrocioius defense – Ronnie Belliard saw a grounder get by in the first inning that was scored a hit simply because he was too slow to get to it, A.J. Ellis threw a ball into center field, and seconds ago, Jamey Carroll just let an easy grounder get right through him.
The point is, if this ends as badly as it looks it will (and I say that about to leave the house for the day), lets take Haeger’s outing with the grain of salt it deserves. He’s a knuckleballer, and he’s your 5th starter. Compare what he did in his first outing with the kind of performances other teams get from their back end (hell, just look at Todd Wellemeyer last night for the Giants), and keep in mind that the knuckleball just doesn’t work every time out. It’s the nature of the beast.
I’m not saying this kind of performance is acceptable or ignorable; far from it. It’s just that we’ve seen the incredibly short leash Joe Torre has had with previous 5th starters (like Eric Stults), so let’s make the preemptive statement that Haeger deserves more than one lousy start before you start looking for other options, okay?