Sunday, August 24, 2008

Notes from a Baltimore Sweep

The Can't Pitch Carl Experience--I had a bit of criticism to levy on the Yanks' broadcast team over on BP: Unfiltered this morning, over a bit of medical misinformation. Here's a taste:

I was watching last night’s Carl Pavano start–his third Major League start in the last three years–on replay, when, in the first inning, the YES Network broadcast team hit upon a huge pet peeve. They were explaining Tommy John surgery to the audience, and Ken Singleton claimed that pitchers throw harder after the elbow reconstruction surgery because “they use a tendon that is actually stronger than the ligament that was replaced.”

I don’t mean to single Singleton out–he’s a quality broadcaster, and often the voice of reason in the Yankees‘ booth–but the myth that Tommy John surgery turns pitchers into supermen is a bit dangerous. Technically, what Singleton said was right: the tendon is better than the ligament being replaced (or overlaid), but only because the ulnar collateral ligament that requires surgery as a result of being torn or ruptured, while the replacement tendon is intact.
As for the start itself, Pavano's pitching line (1 walk and 5 strikeouts in 5 innings) belied the lack of command he showed (2 hit batters, lots of deep counts). This is normal for guys coming back from Tommy John surgery, particularly those who come back relatively quickly (Pavano's surgery was about 14 months ago, if I recall correctly). Of course, if he's able to be effective past this first start, that just raises stakes as to when he'll get hurt again. Will it be tomorrow? The second inning of his next scheduled start, against the Blue Jays? How can you keep Can't Pitch Carl's fragile body protected from the cold, harsh world. Bubble wrap? Styrofoam packing peanuts?

On to Today's Game--It says a lot that after today's game, despite all the injury concerns and questions, Pavano's likely passed Darrell Rasner on the rotation depth chart. Since May, Rasner hasn't had any luck at all trying to string a pair of quality starts together. The wounded look on his face when Girardi pulled him in the fourth was brutal.

Pornstache Wars--What exactly is the mustache look that O's firstbaseman Kevin Millar is going for? Is it Oliver Hardy? Hitler?

Sometimes I Wonder if This is On the Up and Up--Yesterday's YES promos were touting Robinson Cano against the Orioles today. There didn't seem to be much reason for this: he doesn't hit particularly well at Camden Yards, or against the Orioles. Wasn't on a hot streak either. But in today's game, he clouts four hits, including two doubles and a go-ahead solo homer. Weird, huh?

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