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.
One more bit of baseball via which we may reflect on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.
In 1972 Jackie Robinson wrote his autobiography. In it he reflected on how he felt about his historical legacy as a baseball player, a businessman and as a political activist. A political activism, it should be noted, which favored both sides of the aisle at various times. He supported Nixon in 1960, supported the war in Vietnam and worked for Nelson Rockefeller. He did not support Goldwater and did support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He supported Humphrey against Nixon in 1968. He was no blind partisan or ideologue. When you find someone like that you can usually rest assured it’s because they’re thinking hard and thinking critically in a world where things aren’t always cut-and-dried.
As such, this statement from his autobiography, describing his memory of the first game of the 1947 World Series, is worth thinking about. Because it came from someone who spent a lot of time thinking:
There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.
Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists.
As I said in the earlier post, the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.
(thanks to Kokujin for the heads up)
There aren’t many major league ownership reigns which ended more ignominiously than Frank McCourt’s reign as Dodgers owner. He was granted access to one of business’ most exclusive clubs — one which being a convicted criminal or even a Nazi sympathizer cannot get you kicked out of — and somehow got kicked out. The clear lesson from his saga was that saddling your team with debt, using it as your own private piggy bank and exercising bad judgment at every possible turn will not get you drummed out of baseball but, by gum, having it all go public in a divorce case sure as heck will.
McCourt landed pretty safely, though. By sheer luck, his being kicked out of ownership coincided with the vast appreciation of major league franchise values and the expiration of the Dodgers cable television deal. He may have left in disgrace, but he also left with a couple of billion dollars thanks to the genius of capitalism. At the time it was assumed he’d ride off into the sunset, continuing to make a mint off of parking at Dodgers games (he retained a big piece of that pie) and not get his hands messy with sports ownership again.
Such assumptions were inoperative:
The soccer club has suffered from poor financial decisions in recent years. So I guess it was a match made in heaven.