After clinching the playoffs on Thursday, the White Sox were put in a new dilemma. Do you rest some of your starters, which would be beneficial for your team’s playoff chances, despite how this would effect the AL wild card race? While this rarely happens in baseball, this circumstance happens a lot in the NFL and NBA and while these league’s claim they need to uphold the integrity of the whole season, the clinched teams generally rest the starters who they think it will benefit.
It’s my belief that you earn the opportunity to rest your players if you clinch early, as the manager’s main responsibility is to his team’s future, be it giving veterans a rest to keep them fresh and also looking at his September call-ups for next season. I would argue that a call-up is going to play harder than a veteran that has clinched, anyway. I’m guessing, your opinion will vary, depending on if you’re a Yankees/Red Sox or Indians fan.
The biggest issue for the White Sox at this point is do you start Brandon McCarthy, on the last game of the season? While McCarthy has been arguably the Sox best pitcher the past month, I would not put him in my rotation for the first round of the playoffs. It’s hard to question using Buehrle, Contreas, Garland, and Garcia as I would say they are the best starting 4 of all playoff teams. Considering that McCarthy has the freshest arm, plus has the best strikeout/walk ratio, I would think he would be an effective tool to use out of the bullpen, so I would use the last couple regular season games to see how he fairs pitching in relief.
Please check-in below on where you stand. Should an already clinched team rest its starters or should it play its regulars to provide for the fullest integrity of the playoff chase?