Zach Stewart was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte after Friday night's game with the express purpose of starting Saturday night in Minnesota, pushing back Jake Peavy to Sunday after he threw 115 pitches on Monday.
Brian Bruney was DFA'd to make room, and despite his many intangible attributes, his ERA had recently ballooned to 6.86. That along with a 5.49 BB/9, means there's a good chances the rest of the league lets him mosey right back on to Charlotte. If not, oh well. The White Sox acquired a hefty portion of 'just a guy' arms during Spring Training.
Given the nature of Stewart's only start in Charlotte (6.1 IP, 5 K, 10 H, 3 ER), there's not really anyway to interpret this move but as a precaution for Peavy's health. Chapter 37 of Disappointing Returns by Jake Peavy bears a strong resemblance to Chapter 36.
To top it off, Rios will get the start Saturday night over Carlos Quentin, one game after CQ hit 2 HRs and knocked in four runs. I wouldn't say he's being set up to fail, but Stewart certainly isn't well-guarded against it. Maybe the Twins can help him out by being terrible.
The jury on whether Stewart has a career being a starter is still out, so he's probably not the ideal contributor on a team feigning interest in the playoffs. If Jake Peavy requires an extra pitching buddy for the remainder of the season, then the Sox will achieve the improbable task of making the Edwin Jackson trade look worse. On the other hand, it improbably makes losing Lucas Harrell look even better!
Of course, I can't hear about empty holes in the starting rotation without thinking of Chris Sale. He's riding a wave of dominance since his ERA peaked at 7.15 on May 2nd, and has posted a 1.59 ERA, 9.07 K/9, 3.17 BB/9 line in 39.2 IP since. Short of someone figuring out how to reign in Sergio Santos, there's no hurler with more upside than Sale in the organization. He could get hot and rack up 1.5 WAR this season, when really he should be getting placed in a position to accumulate three times as much.
Mark Buehrle would have the best ERA of his career if the season ended today, and Peavy will be another year farther away from his detached lat in 2012, so maybe there's not even a rotation spot to talk about unless Philip Humber collapses. Either in the short-term race, or discussing future rotation options, it seems unfortunate that Zach Stewart has somehow been pushed to the front of the line.
He has the ball Saturday night regardless, which means--as always--that he's just a few surprising efforts away from being the next Don Cooper success story.
I'm in Madison for the weekend, so thankfully I can wash down that sugar-coated final line with some excellent local ales.