“There’s trouble on Joe Pepitone’s line,” was the title Bill Madden gave a chapter of his 2003 book Pride of October: What It Was to be Young and a Yankee. The title alluded to what Madden heard when he first called Pepitone at his Long Island home to arrange interviews for the book. Long before he struggled to reach the former first baseman, there was trouble on Joe Pepitone’s line. And there would be again, nine years later.
Madison Bumgarner is hogging the headlines around the San Francisco Giants these days. Particularly after he dominated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the National League Championship Series Saturday. (Though he got away with a rather obvious balk in the seventh that should have meant a run for the Cardinals.)
A small truckload of aces fell earlier and more often in this postseason, Clayton Kershaw especially, and Bumgarner himself out-dueled an ailing Adam Wainwright among those aces. And lurking amidst the hungering Giants is another former ace.
While we’re on the subject of the Strasburg Plan, it might be wise to hark back to past young guns whose careers—or, more accurately, the lack thereof, for most—may or may not have factored into the Washington Nationals’ thinking. (Manager Davey Johnson, who’s absolutely on board with the Strasburg Plan, happens to know about at least one of those guns directly.) They didn’t all have fractured comebacks from Tommy John surgery (though a few of them could have used it, if the procedure had been around), but they did have work use or other physical issues in one or another way that turned them from brilliant or burgeoning youth to gone, or at least nothing near what they first seemed they’d be, before they should have been in prime.
Some speculation commences that precedent argues against Justin Verlander, the American League’s Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player Award winner for 2011, facing other than sobering after-effects. Well, now. It’s worth a look to see just what are the precedents involving pitchers who have scored both awards for a single season.