But Brian Matusz is having an awful season. How could he break a Roy Halladay record?
Well, that’s because Roy Halladay once had a pretty terrible season himself.
Starting against the Tigers, Matusz gave up six runs in five innings on Sunday, just slightly increasing his ERA from 10.68 to 10.69. It’s the worst ERA ever for a pitcher who made at least 10 starts in a season.
1. Brian Matusz (Bal, 2011): 10.69 ERA in 49 2/3 IP
2. Roy Halladay (Tor, 2000): 10.64 ERA in 67 2/3 IP
3. Micah Bowie (Atl/ChC, 1999): 10.24 ERA in 51 IP
4. Aaron Myette (Tex, 2002): 10.06 ERA in 48 1/3 IP
5. Steve Blass (Pit, 1973): 9.85 ERA in 88 2/3 IP
6. Sean Bergmann (Min, 2000): 9.66 ERA in 68 IP
7. Andy Larkin (Fla, 1998): 9.64 ERA in 74 2/3 IP
8. Edgar Gonzalez (Ari, 2004): 9.32 ERA in 46 1/3 IP
9. Todd Van Poppel (Oak/Det, 1996): 9.06 ERA in 99 1/3 IP
10. Bryan Rekar (Col, 1996): 8.95 ERA in 58 1/3 IP
Since Matusz, who averaged barely more than four innings an outing in his 12 starts, came up one-third of an inning short, Halladay still holds the record of highest ERA for anyone with at least 50 innings pitched in a season. Matusz is the new record holder for guys with 40+ innings. Stu Flythe of the 1936 Athletics holds the record at 30+. He had a 13.04 ERA in 39 1/3 innings.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.