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.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?