For most of us, we can stretch the reality of our occupations enough to relate to professional baseball players. Our nine to five jobs might not be as glamourous as the work that the athletes on our favourite team do on a day to day basis, but we often extend metaphors to find similarities between the two, and perhaps discover a little bit of inspiration for our own daily grind.

However, it’s difficult to relate to injuries. Can you imagine being at the top of your field, or in the middle of being fast tracked to an executive position, only to have something outside of your control cause you to stop that development? It’s hard to grasp the levels of frustration that must stir up.

Last night, we saw the very different returns of two pitchers who have suffered injuries. While one pitcher is expected to carry on with his promising career after briefly being sidetracked, the other caused more celebration for his appearance on a big league mound again rather than the performance he put forth from there.

After more than a year of recovery and rehab stints at several of the Washington Nationals’ Minor League affiliates, dominant phenom Stephen Strasburg made his first Major League start since August 21, 2010 last night. The 23 year old right hander held the Los Angeles Dodgers to just two hits over five scoreless innings, throwing 40 of his 56 pitches for strikes while striking out four and walking none.

His fastball peaked at 99 miles per hour, and his off speed and breaking pitches had just as much movement as before his injury last season. His first time back on the mound in the Majors was a resounding success.

North of the border, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan’s return to action wasn’t quite as smooth of a transition. After two shoulder surgeries, a knee surgery and more rehabbing than a former teen idol, McGowan walked out to the mound at Rogers Centre in the fifth inning of an 11-0 rout by the Boston Red Sox for the first time in more than three years.

When asked whether or not he remembered the last batter he faced in the Majors, McGowan gave a frank and honest reply.

I just remember my arm hurting. I blocked that out of my mind a long time ago.

Over four innings of work, McGowan threw 74 pitches to twenty batters, giving up five hits and three walks that turned into three earned runs. His four seam fastball got close to 96 miles per hour and induced five swinging strikes that helped him on his way to collecting five strikeouts.

It wasn’t the stuff of Strasburg, but for a pitcher that hasn’t thrown from a big league mound since July 8, 2008, it will do just fine.

And The Rest

Was today’s early morning game between the Orioles and Yankees won on another fan interference home run?

Important reading: What WAR is, and what WAR is not.

Outfielder Cameron Maybin and the San Diego Padres are open to discussing a contract extension.

Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez will receive season ending shoulder surgery from Dr. James Andrews.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will get some rest ahead of the postseason after spraining his ankle.

Rob Neyer on appreciating September call ups.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis is done for the year after suffering a setback during his recovery from a hamstring injury.

How fielding metrics account for opportunities.

What’s with the hold up in verifying Jim Crane as the new owner of the Houston Astros?

The Oakland Athletics lose Jason Rice to the Cleveland Indians via the waiver wire less than one week after acquiring him from the Boston Red Sox for Conor Jackson.

Despite his ongoing struggles to find the strike zone, Kyle Drabek was called up by the Toronto Blue Jays for the rest of the month.

The St. Louis Cardinals are rather particular about what time they play baseball.

Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan rethinks the five man rotation.

A San Francisco Giants fan has gone missing.

Finally, can you spot Inspector Gadget? Zoo With Roy can.

Comments (12)

  1. You’ve got the wrong link for “What WAR is…”

  2. The great thing about McGowan (besides actually pitching in the majors) is that he pitched better than the line indicates. I’ve always thought that maybe the Jays should put him as a high leverage reliever/closer but after seeing him last night, I’ve changed my mind. He looks like he can be a top 3 starter when compared to the other starters the Jays currently running out there.

  3. Whoa horsey. That’s a lot of pitches up in the zone. Baby steps.

    • Well I did say “can be” and not “is”.

      I didn’t see every at bat but the pitches I saw up in the zone were 96 mph 4-seamers and the batters were not catching up to them.

      I really forgot how good McGowan’s stuff is though. Hopefully the command continues to improve and if it does, he can be a very valuable guy going forward.

      • I wasn’t as impressed. When he tried his curveball it wasn’t going for strikes. The fastball looked strong though. There’s that.

        • The home run to Reddick was a curveball almost in the dirt. Scoot’s double was under his chin. The Sox were just on yesterday, but he made Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis look like little leaguers on a night where they were hitting everything. 91mph slider ffs! 94mph 2 seam with crazy movement! Very encouraging performance.

        • I was at the game last night near third base, so I can’t speak to how good Lambchop’s stuff was, but his demeanor on the mound sure as hell looked more professional than any of the previous pitchers. Not that it really means anything practical of course.

        • There are all sorts of decent pitchers who, on any given night, may not be able to get their curveball over for a strike. I’m obviously not a scout, but I thought he looked pretty good, aside from the pitches left up a bit.

  4. Gotta say that the Yankees got away with another one there… Bullshit, MLB needs to say any ball touched like that, where there’s even a QUESTION about was it/wasn’t it a home run should be ruled NOT a home run. Just make it a ground rule double.

    Also, I’d like to express a big middle finger to Hanley Ramirez who apparently gave one to me at the start of my fantasy keeper league season.

  5. Tango really nails it. Rejecting WAR on the basis that is has limitations is assinine. Sure it has limitations but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in trying to construct a ‘single number’ metric. No one has ever claimed that WAR wasn’t a work in progress. What’s really worth examining is the different systems that are commonly used to calculate WAR and what case can be made for revising any or all of them.

  6. Have to wonder if McGowan’s first inning would have gone differently if the defensive shift weren’t employed against Gonzalez and that single through the hole at 3rd were turned into an easy out.
    But no matter how you look at it, still encouraging. let’s hope he keeps it up (and I mean improving, not “up in the zone”)

  7. Is that the best angle they have on the “Home Run”? What a shitty call.

    @Whatadewitt – I am sure Hanley injured himself purely to fuck you over in your fanstasy league.

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