The entirety of this season is built up around the hope for younger players to break out and make a big positive impact. In the early going, it’s been very up and down for this team, but we’ve won more than we’ve lost and reinforcements are on the way.
The hitting was always going to be iffy at best (see the last two nights as proof of that; 7 runs one day, 0 runs the next), but the real concern was always the rotation after Felix Hernandez.
We started with Felix, followed by three very inexperienced throwers, and a guy off the scrap heap. One of those inexperienced throwers got injured and we had to reach down into our AAA reserve for a week’s worth of starts. All along, though, help was on the horizon: Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker were returning from supposedly minor injuries. If we could just tread water until May, ostensibly when we get those guys back, we might REALLY be in business. The first month would be long enough to get a good handle on the rest of our rotation and see who’s worthy of sticking with the big ballclub.
It was perfect. A little TOO perfect. And now we see the folly of our ways. Don’t ever rest your hopes on the arm of a pitcher recovering from mystery shoulder pain. Not ever!
Maybe it’s nothing, but I’ll bet you every last dollar to my name that it’s something. Taijuan Walker was supposed to make another rehab start last night, this time in Tacoma. If he did well, and Blake Beavan did poorly for the Mariners, we MAYBE could have seen Taijuan Walker on the Mariners by the weekend. Now? Who the fuck knows?!
Listen people, you heard it here first: forget about Taijuan Walker. He’s finished as far as 2014 is concerned. There are two ways this goes: surgery, or he continues to rehab and ultimately returns by the end of the summer, when the season is too far gone to recover. And, dollars to donuts, even if he does rehab all summer, he’s still gonna need surgery anyway!
This is Danny Hultzen all over again. Once they go under the knife on their throwing shoulders, it’s over. Curtains! You can just forget about these guys ever reaching their full potential. If they make it to the Bigs, they’ll be “nice stories”. You’ll root for them because they’re coming back from something so severe, fighting impossible odds to return to their former glory. They’re impossible odds because it’s so physically difficult to return from these things! Even the steroids guys had trouble coming back from shoulder surgery!
No, best to forget about Walker. Gotta focus on what we have. I’m a little more optimistic now that Iwakuma will indeed return, so that’s probably some good news we’re desperate to hear. With Iwakuma, we’ve got him and Felix and Elias and Ramirez and Chris Young. It’s obviously FAR from ideal, but then again it beats whatever the hell we’ll have to do the next couple of weeks, now that we know Blake Beavan pitched all four innings yesterday with shoulder tightness/dead arm. If HE can’t go on Sunday (and he’s by no means any sort of prized pig), then I don’t know what the fuck we’re going to do. Bullpen day? Pick up ANOTHER guy off of the scrap heap? I’m not gonna lie to you, the Tacoma rotation is full of nothing but fuck-ups. To be honest with you, I’d rather just kill our bullpen and take Sunday’s game as a loss than bring up anyone else from the Rainiers.
Here’s some advice: try to forget everything I just said. Just focus on today. Today, it’s Felix vs. Yu Darvish in an epic battle to try to not fall below .500. Nothing else matters … until Thursday, and the rest of the week, and the rest of the month, and the rest of the year.