Today, Peter Abraham wrote:
Chien-Ming Wang has pitched horrifically this season. Brutally, terribly, awfully. Let’s get that right out of the way.
But he was 46-15 with a 3.74 ERA before he hurt his foot last June and has never given the Yankees one ounce of trouble. He shows up, does his job and has been a model teammate.
This is all true. And, to be candid, in a comment elsewhere on this blog today, I shared that I never saw “this” coming for Wang this season.
But, then again, after his 1991 and 1992 seasons, in April of 1993, did anyone see “it” coming for then 23-year old Steve Avery?
More recently, after his 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons, in April of last year, did anyone see “it” coming for then 30-year old Aaron Harang?
After his 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons, in April of 2006, did anyone see “it” coming for then 27-year old Mark Buehrle?
After his 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons, in April of 1995, did anyone see “it” coming for then 29-year old Ken Hill?
After his 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, in April of 2004, did anyone see “it” coming for then 29-year old Matt Morris?
After his 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 seasons, in April of 1989, did anyone see “it” coming for then 27-year old Danny Jackson?
After his 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, in April of 2004, did anyone see it coming for then 25-year old Joel Pineiro?
After his 1997 and 1998 seasons, in April of 1999, did anyone see it coming for then 26-year old Justin Thompson?
If you’re being honest, the answers to all these questions is probably “no.” (And, for the record, these are just some recent cases where a pitcher has hit the skids where it seemed like that could not happen to him, at that point. There are many, many, more that can be cited.)
Now, this is NOT to say that Worm Killer Wang will have a terrible 2009. And, even if he does, this is NOT to imply that his career is over.
But, this does suggest that, sometimes, for no reason that you could see coming, a pitcher, who appears to be a solid and proven commodity at the big league level, can have a season where it is ALL DOWNHILL for him – and out of the blue – at an age where it doesn’t seem probable (to happen).
Why? Hey, as these cases prove, it’s happened in the past and it can happen again…at any time, to anyone.