Rookie hurlers Cahill, Porcello having interesting seasons

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A’s rookie Trevor Cahill set a new team record for most home runs allowed at home by serving up his 20th bomb at the Oakland Coliseum last night. Cahill has allowed 20 homers in 100.2 innings at home, but just six homers in 57.2 innings on the road, which is odd given that Oakland’s ballpark typically suppresses power.
Cahill leads all rookies with 158.1 innings, but is just 8-12 with a 4.66 ERA and sub par 79/64 K/BB ratio as a 21-year-old. He’s also served up 26 total homers in 28 starts despite inducing the ninth-most ground balls in the league. One out of every seven fly balls hit against Cahill have gone over the fence, which is the third-worst rate in the AL ahead of only Josh Beckett and fellow rookie Rick Porcello.
And speaking of Porcello, he tossed seven strong innings yesterday for this 12th victory, becoming just the 13th pitcher in the last 50 years to win a dozen or more games as a 20-year-old. Dwight Gooden sits atop that list with an amazing, Cy Young-winning 1985 season that saw him go 24-5 with a 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, .201 opponents’ batting average, 16 complete games, and eight shutouts. As a 20-year-old!
Porcello’s numbers obviously pale in comparison, but he’s been very solid with a 12-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 25 starts. He’s managed just 72 strikeouts in 135.2 innings, but has succeeded while pitching to contact because no pitcher in the league has induced as many ground balls. Porcello is at 56 percent grounders, and Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Ricky Romero are the only other guys above 50 percent.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.