I think there were ways, with off days, to structure the rotation so it didn't hurt the normal days of rest schedule for the other pitchers.
And I'm not talking about making this a common occurrence... but if they did that once or twice... and limited a couple of his outings to five innings instead of six, or six innings instead of seven, they would have easily had 15+ innings left over for him to use in the playoffs.
Other than maybe 1 or 2 occasions, I don't get the sense that they've pushed him much if at all this year . How many times has he even pitched into the 7th inning? I can only think of a couple times all year. And of course, not all innings are created equally. His last start, even though he only gave up 1 run was laborious, as opposed to last night which was like a walk in the park for him.
They did push his start back after the All Star break and they did have a long ass stretch of games with no off days. Not sure how much tinkering they could have done without affecting everyone else.
Don't they have 4 off days in the next couple of weeks? Maybe some shifting will be done then?