Blind Squirrel, Acorn
April 15th, 2004: Ryan Franklin goes 8 innings, allows 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts.
May 22nd, 2005: Aaron Sele throws a complete game shutout, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 3.
May 6th, 2006: Joel Pineiro tosses 8 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, and 6 strikeouts.
What do all these starts have in common? Each one was a great performance from a bad pitcher, and each one inspired all kinds of talk about this being the start of improved performance for any variety of reasons. Franklin had shrunk his repertoire, and now that he wasn’t so confused, he was going to be good. Sele finally got his arm strength back after years of surgery. Pineiro reinvented himself as a groundball pitcher who threw strikes.
Of course, all three pitchers quickly returned to their previously established levels of crappiness, and all the talk about these quick fixes were quickly forgotten. We’ve even seen this with Meche multiple times. He’s keeping his hands up. He’s throwing a 2 seamer instead of the flat 4 seamer. He’s abandoning the curve and throwing a slider. He’s going to throw more change-ups.
None of it matters. Gil Meche is still the same lousy AAA starting pitcher he was when he woke up yesterday morning. He’s just now a lousy AAA starter who had a good performance the last time he took the hill.
Let’s not add May 25th to the list of starts that get us overly excited about a bad starting pitcher. After all, Aaron Sele has a 1.69 ERA right now. It happens.
Gil Meche still sucks.
edit: True to form, Art Thiel writes the classic “He’s Fixed!” piece. He even spells Rafael Chaves’ last name incorrectly about 184 times. Good times.