Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times gives us a real man-bites-dog story today: Carlos Zambrano compassionately helping a teammate through a rough emotional time:
“Right after I finished pitching, I texted Zambrano, and I was telling him, ‘Man, I don’t know what’s going on,’ ” Silva said. “What he told me in the text was, ‘You just need to forget everything, go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to pitch, you did it before, so why can’t you do it again?’ It’s true.’’
Carlos Zambrano: the voice of reason. I like it!
Now excuse me as I tag this post so I can quickly call it up again come May when Zambrano has a meltdown of his own.
Josh Beckett shook off the mild concussion he sustained last Monday to toss 3.2 innings of one-run ball against the Astros today, striking out four batters.
In addition to avoiding any post-concussion symptoms Beckett also told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that his back problems have improved after limiting him to just 21 starts last season:
I feel different walking around. More stability than anything. It’s not like it feels stronger, but more stable. Balanced is a good word for it. Balance is huge in pitching. It keeps me healthy.
Obviously getting healthy is key for Beckett, but even setting aside the injury issues his 116/46 K/BB ratio in 128 innings last season suggested he pitched much better than the ugly 5.78 ERA would indicate. Based on his strikeout, walk, and ground-ball numbers Beckett posted a solid 4.01 xFIP.
I tend to glaze over at most stories about pitching mechanics. They seem so jargony. I really have no idea what an “inverted W” is nor do I know why they don’t just call it an “M.”
But today’s story by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated is a different thing. It focuses on Stephen Strasburg and his recovery from Tommy John surgery. At the beginning we learn that the Nats are going to try to have Strasburg change his approach. It’s the Crash Davis thing: strikeouts are fascist, so try to get some more ground balls. They’re more democratic.
But then it goes on to explain why Strasburg may have been more likely to need Tommy John surgery than other pitchers. It all has to do with when his arm is fully-cocked and ready to go, and even those of us who aren’t physiologists can understand what Verducci is saying. And, from the sounds of it, what the Nationals aren’t really paying any attention to.
Good article. You’ll learn stuff.