Wait, wait, what just happened?
I see as if in a fog. My head is… it’s swimming. I… I’m disoriented. I thought he had turned a corner. Didn’t he? I saw it, I became a believer. He’d made improvements… hadn’t he? He had this new pitch, and had made adjustments that stuck, he’d put it all together and turned a corner, the evidence was incontrovertible by any weight of evidence or argumentation.
And then the game… I’ve been staring at the box score hoping that my memory was false, that I’d seen something besides another terrifying meltdown by Washburn, the improved Washburn no less. But no, there it waited until I was ready to accept it.
Washburn (L, 5-13), 4.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HR.
Woe! Woe is me! Woe is all of fandom! Stolen from us is Washburn the valuable commodity, so precious the M’s were right to hold onto, and now he is gone, replaced by another one of the endless prancing talentless fools that come streaming out of the clown car of the rotation — how did this happen? He was so good since May! Since May!
And then, reaching out for some kind of sanity, I find out that he’s sucked in August. How did we not see this? Why weren’t we informed? Once we sliced the season into the first ten starts and the rest, were we all so blind that the last few were so worthless? Was his splitter so split, his new changeup grip so gripping that it entranced us even as we had crossed another boundary zone, the nebulous post-trade-deadline wasteland where no hope resides?
August: 0-4, 22 IP, 28 H, 22 R, 18 ER, 9 BB, 11 K, 4 HR. 104 batters faced.
That’s a 7.38 ERA! O cruel Fates! Why do you torture us so?
I am lashed, lashed from side to side by the gusting monthly vagaries of Washburn’s successes and failures, I twist in pain as he struggles and exalt in his success, and now — how long will this new, retroactively bad Washburn last? A month? And then what, another roll of the dice to see how he’ll perform for the next thirty days? What kind of sadistic god metes out such punishment?
Is this our penance for some unknown offense to the baseball deities, to watch this month-by-month horror unfold before us, each lash of the whip spaced by four games to nearly heal, powerless to change the outcome, forced to watch other teams pay less and get so, so much more? Is this cruel fleeting talent of Jarrod only intended to torment us more, to give us hope, and let us savor and nurture it long enough that when it is taken from us our hearts are rent anew, and the pain returns to us fresh?
What is it? What did we do?