Baseball, like all sports, is in the age of specialization.

In football, teams have a guy on the roster who is just a long-snapper and a guy who just handle kickoffs. In basketball, teams have guys on their roster who are defensive specialists or three-point specialists.

In baseball, as we all know, teams have left-handed pitchers on the roster just to pitch to one left-handed batter in the game. Well, the Houston Astros took specialization to another level on Wednesday afternoon.

In a 10-inning, 8-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, manager Brad Mills used nine different pitchers. Really? Nine pitchers to record 30 outs?

Mills essentially turned Wednesday’s game into an All-Star Game.

Here is the inning breakdown of the nine starters used:

JA Happ: 4.1

Henry Villar: 0.2

Felipe Paulino: 1.0

Tim Byrdak: 0.1

Mark Melancon: 0.2

Fernando Abad: 1.0

Brandon Lyon: 1.0

Matt Lindstrom: 0.0

Gustavo Chacin: 1.0

Now granted, Lindstrom was used because Lyon naturally blew the save in the ninth and Chacin was used because Lindstrom was dreadful in the 10th. But even if you take Lindstrom and Chacin out of the equation, there is no way a team should use seven pitchers in one nine-inning game when the opposing team hasn’t scored 10 runs or more.

You want to know why games three-and-a-half or four hours these days? Just look at innings five, six, and seven for the Astros. They used four pitchers to get nine outs.

I don’t mind mixing and matching late in the game, but there is no reason why middle relievers can’t pitch two or three innings these days. There’s really no excuse for it.

It might be a while before Mills ever manages an All-Star Game for the National League, but he certainly managed one for the Astros on Wednesday.

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