Whatever happened to Trevor Cahill?

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After three straight solid starts in a row, Trevor Cahill was just torched for a career-high 10 runs in two-plus innings by the Yankees on Friday night.  He gave up five runs in a second inning that only ended because Derek Jeter was thrown out at third after tagging up on a sac fly and then five more without getting an out in the third.

Cahill opened the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA.  He outpitched his peripherals as part of a surprising 18-win season in 2010, but this time around, his strikeout rate was well up and he surrendered just three homers in his first eight starts.  His K/BB ratio stood at 45/16 in 52 1/3 innings.

Things have gone very wrong since.  In his last 14 starts, he has a 56/42 K/BB ratio and he’s allowed 10 homers in 83 2/3 innings.

Velocity is one problem.  He averaged 90.4 mph with his fastball last year, and he was right around there at the beginning of this season.  However, he’s averaged closer to 86-89 mph lately and he’s down to 89.1 mph for the season, according to Fangraphs.com data.

Also a concern is the regression of his curveball.  Based on a couple of early-season viewings, I thought it was turning into the strikeout pitch he needed and I got quite a bit more bullish on his future as a result.  Unfortunately, he’s no longer throwing it for strikes or getting swings and misses with it.

It’s possible Cahill is hurting and just hasn’t told anyone about it.  The erosion of both his command and velocity suggests it.  But hopefully that’s not the case.  As stated above, Cahill had turned in three straight quality starts coming into this one.  Still, he’s an A’s pitcher and it’s never a good idea to give one of them the benefit of the doubt.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.