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Second Guess

What I think is really evident now is that the debate never should have been "Peavy or Tomko". Realistically, the debate should have been whether we were giving ourselves one game to win one game or if we were giving ourselves two games to win one game. The strategy is definitely different from one to the other.

If you play like Sunday's the must win game, then you send out your best pitcher and you must be prepared to empty the bullpen and the dugout. With my 20/20 hindsight, I think the correct move would've been to go with Peavy and have Tomko ready to take over as the first reliever. If any pitcher were to walk a batter, or allow a runner into scoring position, get two relievers warming up. There no longer is any concept of who earned a run. If Cla's going to allow an inherited runner, then pull him out. Once you've gone to the bullpen, pinch hit and run whenever there's an advantage.

On the other hand, if you're going to play like you have to win one of two games, then go ahead and start Tomko, but if he gets into trouble be prepared to not be so liberal with the bullpen. After all, the very next game becomes a must win game and if you're losing, then you need to make sure that your guys are going to be at their best the next day. But how do you know when to ease up and get prepped for the next game? If you fall behind by 1? By 2? At some point, if you're going to play like you have to win one out of two, you have to decide when to give up in that first game.

That's where the problem comes in. That second game isn't like the second serve in tennis after you've faulted. There's no easing up to make sure that you're in. If anything, you have to hit that second game even harder. And it's not like the Rockies are going to make it any easier. They're in the exact same position the Padres are now. What's worse, the tone is very different in the two clubhouses. This isn't the second chance for the Padres. It's actually the third chance. The first chance was a heartbreaker. The second chance was a blowout. The third chance is against a team that refuses to lose and the last time the Padres have seen the Rockies, it was easily the worst loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Rockies are in a position where they feel like nothing is stopping them from getting into the postseason.

There's no preparing for the next series when it isn't on your schedule yet. No saving anything tonight. Cassel and Maddux are available even if they are on ridiculously short rest. I don't want to see anything less than our best option coming off of the bench. We're Brewster's Millions tonight, boys. It all gets spent. We finish the evening with nothing left in the tank if we want to see the big prize.