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Game 151 Open Thread- White Sox (65-86) at Royals (65-85)

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While we've seen a considerable amount of discussion regarding the wisdom of continued appearances by Gil Meche here at RR, theres been considerably less angst regarding Brian Bannister (12-8, 3.39 ERA), who just happens to be this years starter. Banny's made 25 starts this season, and is obviously in unchartered territory in terms of workload.

Brian Bannister's Professional Workload
  1. 154   IP

  2. 154.1 IP

  3. 80    IP

  4. 181   IP

Remember, Banny also started four games for Omaha this season, where he racked up 20.2 innings for the O-Royals. Although the Royals have done a good job limiting his pitches (he's 88th in BP's PAP stat) many in the industry consider an additional 30 innings from one season to the next as an entrance into the injury danger zone, we can see that Banny is already fairly at risk. His own effectiveness has kept him deep into many games this year Considering the paltry merits of whats at stake -- 4th/5th place, just how horrible Buddy's final W/L % will be, a few fantasy baseball rounds -- its hard to find much justification for tacking on another twenty innings this season, especially since Banny has nothing left to prove.

Ohh, theres that Rookie of the Year thing.

Look, we'd all like nothing more than Bannister to get some love from the scribes that be and snag this award away from one of the undeserving Red Sox candidates. There will be a nice story or two in the KC Star, on the Royals webpage and maybe something from someone in the ESPN stable. Then we'll all move on. I don't doubt that there is a real financial windfall to winning the ROY in terms of increased recognition and future contracts/second-chances and maybe a little endorsement payolla, etc. However -- and as much as I sincerely want Banny to get his -- if he gets injured or starts Spring Training sore or tight next season, then that might ultimately eat into his potential career earnings. So were somewhere between a wash and a risk, but in no scenario does it really make sense to go all out for roses from the BBWAA.

Nevertheless, I'm loath to denigrate a decision the Royals may or may not have already made, and hopefully we'll be hearing from Dick Kagel at some point that Meche and Bannister have been shut down. As with last night, lets hope the fans at the K give Banny a nice ovation sometime later tonight, and that we all call it a season.

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Taking the mound for the ChiSox tonight is Jose Contreras, arguably the worst pitcher on the planet right now (although Ho Ramirez and Mark Mulder might have something to say about that). No lineup changes or newcomers for Buddy, as we've got to play out the string as if life itself depended on improving the man's .418 career winning percentage.

In other news, Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN.com has a nice story about Grudz online, although honestly I'm not sure what the point is, its like one part "heroic lion in winter of his days on losing team" and one part "Grudz helping Royals win".