Carlos Silva makes first rehab start since minor heart procedure

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Carlos Silva made a minor league rehab start with Single-A Peoria on Friday night, his first appearance since undergoing a minor cardiac procedure to remedy an abnormal heart beat earlier this month.

Silva allowed just two hits — both of them singles — over 2 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out one and walking none. According to Kevin Capie of the Peoria Journal Star, Silva came away from the outing feeling great.

“It’s almost like I did not have to worry about my arm,” Silva said.
“The main thing was to throw and not think about what was going on, just
let it go. That’s what I did.”

Silva is on track to make his second rehab start with Single-A Peoria Wednesday. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to be activated from the disabled list, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

The 31-year-old right-hander has completely reinvented himself to go 10-5 with 3.92 ERA over 20 starts this season. Let’s hope his unlikely comeback story continues.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.