Thursday, April 22, 2010

Qualls Quandary

It's very easy to say, "Here we go, again," year after year, but it's also just as hard to have to deal with it.

Qualls is again in question and we have to wonder if this guy's hiding an injury, just having a rough time budding from a long winter slumber, still not fully 100% from the knee surgery, plain dead (arm- and skills-wise), or all of the above.

I say it's a combination of some of the mentioned factors (coming back from the surgery, having a rough start to the season - seems like his sinker isn't sinking as much and his slider isn't as sharp - and a case of poor luck: .444 BABIP) plus being poorly managed.

Last night A.J. Hinch brought in Qualls to start the top of the ninth in a 4-4 tie game at home to face lefty Colby Rasmus, the Cardinals' no.5 hitter who'd gone 2 for 3 with a triple and a homer.

Bringing in the closer in a tie game at the top of the ninth at home? By the book, right? Sure, but when we consider that the said closer had pitched two straight nights for a total of 37 pitches and is off to the worst season start since 2006 (to the tune of 7.11 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 5 1/3 IP), it's justified to question and second guess Hinch's decision to bring in Qualls.

If Qualls were an elite closer, then perhaps Hinch's attempt at nurturing Quall's damaged confidence - imagine if everything worked out as Hinch had planned: Qualls comes in, goes 1-2-3, with 2 K and a ground out, and gets the win thanks to Chris Synder's 2nd home run of the year, the Diamondbacks' manager is smart for believing in his closer and Qualls owners rejoice - but the fact is that he's a mediocre closer coming off a knee surgery ruined the possible fairy tale ninth.

One of my fellow dynasty league manager pointed to what's happened to Brad Lidge (don't look now, but he's KILLING it in his rehab appearances!), how a knee issue can render even the near-elite into a Joe Borowski.

Obviously, go pick up your Gutierrez. But don't go crazy and straight drop Qualls. I have a feeling Qualls will be the saves leader on the Diamondbacks at the end of this season. Yes . . . here we go, again! Bring on the balloooooned ERA and WHIP (for a handful of saves)!

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