Ruben: "Where is it written that a baseball team has to have a bullpen? Why not have our starters throw 128 pitches in meaningless April games? Lee wanted to stay in the game. That's good enough for me!"
Of course it was Ryne Sandberg who left Cliff Lee in last night's loss to the Braves, not RAJ. But the speculation on not really needing a pen seems apt, since the Fightins don't have one.
What is it with managers and veteran pitchers, anyway? If one of these oldheads wants to stay in a game, as many pitches as he may have thrown, and no matter how unimportant the game, the manager (undermining his own authority?) will do it. Why? It's not like there's some carryover effect, in which we are now guaranteed a kickass performance the next time Cliff pitches.
"He's earned it" is the usual rationale. Well, no. There's too much emotion in the mix for it to be the pitcher's call.