It can sometimes be tough to keep your cool during an MLB season, what with all the ebbs and flows of hope that come with rooting for a competitive team. It’s a feeling I’m not used to either in my young career as a journalist or my decades-long tenure as a Kansas City Royals fan, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
Still, it’s hard not to overreact to either to success or failure. Maybe that’s why many canned responses to the media involve taking things one step, day, game, play or pitch at a time.
In an effort to free myself of worries regarding the past and the distant future, I took a long look at the career and tendencies of the Toronto Blue Jays‘ projected starter for tomorrow’s game — the shaky Dustin McGowan. Toronto forced this 32-year-old converted reliever into the rotation at the start of this year, and he’s yet to find success at this level.
McGowan failed to finish more than four innings in three out of four starts this season and currently owns a 6.88 ERA. Prior to 2014, McGowan spent 11 seasons in and out of starting rotations and in and out of the big leagues thanks to a rather remarkable history with injuries (and perseverance). He comes at batters with a fastball/slider combo and tries to avoid throwing pitches low and in or high and away.
He throws the slider low and away to right-handed batters and under the hands of lefties, while trying (and often failing) to avoid the center of the plate with his fastball.
McGowan can actually use his lack of experience to his advantage tomorrow. Only three Royals have ever faced McGowan more than once, only six have come to the plate against him at all, and only two have recorded an extra-base hit with him on the mound.
The Royals typically get destroyed by mediocre unknown pitchers, as frustratingly odd as that is, but they have a chance to break that trend tomorrow with Jason Vargas on the mound. His absolute dominance is almost as uncanny as KC’s inability to produce against no-name starters at the end of rotations, so tomorrow’s game will invariably bring us an end to some sort of unusual trend.