The Cubs Were Apparently the Kiss of Death
Welcome to Charlotte, David Aardsma. A big bullpen shake-up on the South Side finds Aardsma and Mike MacDougal in AAA and the delightfully unremarkable Bret Prinz and Ryan Bukvich up in the big leagues. I think the best thing that can happen here is that Aardsma and MacDougal get some things straightened out down on the farm... I'm not looking for Prinz and Bukvich to help right this sinking ship. But at the same time, bullpens are cruel, fickle mistresses and they can be great for a month and then absolutely suck... so you never know. Even Jonathan Papelbon can give up 9th inning homers to purple-lipped skirt-chasers. Remember when the Sox bullpen was their strength this year? Me too... vaguely. Oh, how I long for the halcyon days of Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts being lights out in the 7th and 8th... I really didn't appreciate how good we had it. There's always hope these guys can turn it around, though.
The real silver lining in this whole debacle? If I ever decide it's worth my time to listen to a White Sox game on the radio again, I won't have to hear Chris Singleton giggling as he says, at the prompting of Ed Farmer, "David AAAAAARRRRRRdsma enters the game." You know, it's funny because pirates say "arrrr" and Aardsma has two "a"s to start his name. It happens every single time. I wish I was kidding.
The most interesting thing about this move is how precipitously Aardsma fell. Going into the series against the Cubs a couple weeks ago, he was quite possibly the team's best reliever, better even than Jenks. Pitching against his former team must have really mindfucked Aardsma, though. Pre-Cubs, his ERA was 1.64--and it was only that high because of an uncharacteristic blown save opportunity against the Tigers way back on April 22. Post-Cubs, his ERA ballooned to 6.18 and he's given up 4 or more earned runs in 3 appearances (2 against the Cubbies and one this past weekend against the Blue Jays). Oh yeah, and he walked in the winning run against Minnesota, failing to throw even one strike to the only guy he faced (I hate you, Torii Hunter). Oops.
Man, it'd be fun to play major league baseball. But I don't know if I'd want to be throwing out of the bullpen. As Aardsma and MacDougal (he of the freshly-minted 3 year $6 million+ contract) have proven over the past couple weeks, your leash is pretty short. Forget how to throw strikes in a few appearances, and you'll be riding the bus with Brian Anderson instead of showing up the batboy in the daily Jeopardy! clubhouse competition. Whatever will he do if he can't catch his daily Trebek fix? Oh... maybe he'll remember how to pitch again.