OK, so maybe he’s not being punished for talking out of school. Brandon Beachy will get the start for the Braves tonight against the Phillies. Jair Jurrjens has been scratched with a bum knee. It’s Beachy’s big league debut.
I kind of like Beachy, actually. He just turned 24. Between AAA and AA this year he’s 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA, mostly out of the pen. The thing I like the most is that he has struck out 148 dudes in 119 innings while walking only 28.
Still, let the record reflect that in this week’s three-game series, the Phillies will be running out pitchers with 765 starts among them. The Braves will be running out a trio with 59 combined major league starts. Fifty-two of those starts are from the old man of the group, Tommy Hanson. Against the best team in baseball according to some marginal ranking systems.
Let the record also reflect that, once this news was announced a few minutes ago, my Phillies Phriends on Twitter had the same, simultaneous response: oh, god, the last thing the Phillies need is to face some rookie we’ve never seen before. Dash Treyhorn’s response may have had a bit of hyperbole to it, but I sense real dread: “The Phils would have a better shot against King Felix than a rookie making his MLB debut.”
Such anxiety for a fan base that should have very little of it these days. Further evidence of it was on display when, after ranking Philly first in today’s Power Rankings, the primary response was “you tryin’ to jinx us?” This from people who get really angry whenever I call Philly fans insecure.
But hey: no pressure. The champion-presumptive of Major League Baseball is going nuclear by throwing its three best starters against a faltering team who are throwing out a trio of starters who probably have shaved six times combined.
David Ortiz had a whale of a final season with the Red Sox. It was so good that he was asked, many, many times, if he was thinking of reversing his retirement decision and coming back for 2017. Ortiz always said no, he was still retiring, occasionally making mention of his aching feet and the physical grind his 40-year-old body was undergoing.
We now know just how much of a grind it was. Indeed, it was extreme. We know this because Dan Dyrek, the Red Sox’ coordinator of sports medicine services, tells it to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Dyrek says that the injuries to Ortiz’s feet, which were often referred to as achilles tendon problems, were way, way more complicated than that, affecting every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet in chain reaction fashion. Dyrek:
“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”
That Ortiz was able to even walk through what Dyrek describes is pretty amazing. That he was able to put up a near-MVP season with all of that pain is incredible.
For all of the ups and downs of his personal and professional life, Charlie Sheen is and always has been a passionate baseball fan. Sheen once bought out an entire section of bleachers for an Angels game so he could catch a home run ball (he didn’t catch a home run ball). He starred in “Eight Men Out” and, more notably, “Major League.” That latter film earned him the love and admiration of Indians fans which lasts to this day.
Indeed, the love continues to be so great that, right after the Indians clinched the American League pennant, they began lobbying for Sheen to throw out the first pitch of a World Series game in Cleveland. Yesterday afternoon Sheen took to Twitter, posted a pic of his baseball alter ego, and said that, if called upon, he would serve:
While it’s a big broad comedy, the scene in “Major League” in which Sheen comes out of the bullpen to “Wild Thing” blaring and the fans going nuts is legitimately chill-inducing. The fans at Progressive Field are already going to be amped up for the World Series as it is, but imagine how nuts the place would be if they recreated that scene.
Do it, Indians!
UPDATE: Wait, on reflection, don’t do it, Indians. Sheen is sort of a Trumpian figure in that his high profile craziness often causes us to momentarily forget his legitimate badness. We don’t need a guy like that tossing out the first pitch at the World Series.