Manager Don Baylor of the Colorado Rockies got only one complete game from a starting pitcher this season, used his bullpen 456 times and said, "The toughest thing I had to do was give our beat writers the starting rotation three or four days ahead. It was usually [Kevin] Ritz, then probable, probable, probable."
In Game 2 of the division series with Atlanta, it will be left-hander Lance Painter, one of 12 pitchers the Rockies used this season as a starter, in Painter's case once. Painter, 28, was 3-0 with a 4.37 earned-run average. He made 32 relief appearances and in his one start went five innings of a 12-2 victory over the Braves on Sept. 12.
Baylor said two considerations prompted him to give Painter another start against Atlanta: His success against the Braves' lefty-dominated lineup in that game and right-hander Armando Reynoso's 0-5 career record against the Braves. Reynoso was his only option.
Painter pitched only 2 1/3 innings over the last 12 days of the season because of a sore shoulder but says that shouldn't inhibit him.
"When you get to this level, this is what you want," he said of the assignment. "I'm going to take it like a spot start, like I did the last time. I can't act like it's the most important game of my life. I just have to treat it like another game."
Not the most important game of his life?
"That's what Don keeps telling me, but I probably won't get a lot of sleep tonight," Painter said.