All signs point to a thumb's up for the return of Hong-Chih Kuo to the active 25-man roster for the NLCS, which is definitely a good thing. The flip side is that Takashi Saito may have just pitched himself out of the postseason.
With Kuo ready, Saito's horrible bullpen sessions look to have earned him a ticket to the bench for this round of the playoffs. Combine that with his awful appearance against the Cubs in Game 2 (3 batters, 3 hits for those of you that have forgotten), and I guess we shouldn't be all that surprised.
It's really too bad that Saito may be the odd man out, because when he's on, he's just as good a closer as anybody else. Unfortunately, after missing 2 months with a partially torn elbow ligament, I guess it would be asking too much to have him close out games in the playoffs like the Saito of old. It's just not going to happen. And that's the reality. The good news for him is that there's still the World Series to get to if the Dodgers are good enough, so he can always get added back on. Rest and rehabilitation worked for Kuo, it can work for him as well.
If Saito is able to convince the powers that be from tonight to tomorrow morning that he can get big hitters out, look for Kuo to replace youngster James McDonald, who has yet to appear in the postseason.