(Courtesy of the AP)
It's Pitcher Workload Monday around here today, huh? That'll happen when 60% of your Opening Day rotation is on the DL and replaced with 3 guys who struggle to complete 6 innings. Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the remaining 2 healthy starters, Hiroki Kuroda, entered this season with a workload restriction attached to him. Similarly to how Joe handled Andy Pettitte last season, the plan for Kuroda was to be a 6-inning/100-pitch pitcher for the most part. The thought was that by limiting him to those thresholds early, it would help prevent the late-season decline in performance he experienced in 2013. It's also a smart "better safe than sorry" strategy to take with a pitcher in his late 30s.
The problem with that strategy is that the substitution of Nuno-Phelps-Whitley for Nova-Pineda-Sabathia has put an extra strain on the bullpen. One way to help alleviate that strain would be to let Kuroda pitch a little deeper in his outings, something Joe had the opportunity to do that in yesterday's opening doubleheader game. Instead, he chose to stick to script with Kuroda and not push him.