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Bud Black has managed a pretty good rookie season thus far, and has been difficult to second guess. Of course, when you call it ahead of time, as I did in my last blog, it’s not a second guess now, is it? It’s a first guess.

Look, starting Jake Peavy on three days rest was a bad idea from the moment it was conceived, and it’s Black’s biggest mistake of the year. That Peavy gave up eight earned runs in four innings, his worst performance of 2007, is almost beside the point. Short-resting just doesn’t work, and for years has backfired more often than not. Watch as Jake struggles next time out as well, or tires early, or both.

I’m no sage, believe me. It’s just that this is a manager’s tool that has bugged me for as long as I can remember. It’s my pet-Peavy, if you will.

And it’s just common sense, really. Throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion for the human body. I mean, it’s not brain surgery. Sorry, I suppose “surgery” is a bad choice of words. OK, it’s not rocket science. But it just stands to reason that a man’s arm would do better with more rest than less.

In today’s U-T,, Tom Krasovic backs Bud Black, citing then-Anaheim Angels pitching coach Bud Black’s support of manager Mike Scioscia’s using John Lackey in the seventh game of the World Series on short rest, as an example. Apples and oranges, I say.

This wasn’t Game Seven. There is a tomorrow. Of course you trot your ace out there on three days rest for the seventh game of a World Series. Of course you use him in the seventh game of a National League Championship Series. Like, duh. Precedent goes back a century. In fact, if you have Sandy Koufax, and you’re not thinking about career-ending illness, you give him the ball on two days rest, as the Dodgers did in the 1965 World Series. Of course, of course, of course.

Please don’t tell me Jake wanted the ball, and volunteered to take it; insisted he take it. Of course Jake wants the ball. It’s a ball player’s job to be ultra-competitive, it’s in his nature, and especially so for an ace like Peavy. It’s the manager’s job to know better.

With this Peavy move, and with Chris Young being used on less than full strength (I’m sure he wants the ball too), and Brett Tomko being used at all, the Padres are giving breaks to the competition. They’re unforced errors, actually, and the Diamondbacks took advantage of them on consecutive nights. And guess who’s in first place. Better decision-making by the skipper is required.

— HOWARD COLE

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