Then we came to our senses. Really, it comes down to a larger sample of recent results and an eyeball test. Blackburn, before Tuesday, had thrown six consecutive quality starts since returning from the minors. Baker has been battling a nagging arm injury. And he has the greater propensity -- in our mind -- for a blow-up game in the playoffs.
We'll take Blackburn, on the road, with his composure and his ability to keep the ball on the ground (only two homers in those six starts before Tuesday). Blackburn is slated to go Sunday in the regular-season finale. If he defeats the Blue Jays, he'll finish with an 11-11 record for the third consecutive season. That's a statistical oddity, but it says everything you need to know. Baker might be higher-risk, higher-reward, but if you want to know what you are getting, we say Blackburn is still your guy.