First of all, not having seen the game (thanks, by the way, for sending a crew all the way to Minnesota to televise only one game), and not having a crystal ball, I can’t say how Sean Gallagher’s shoulder felt tonight as he surrendered 11 hits and 10 runs in 5 innings. Here’s what I know:
• Gallagher was 10 days removed from missing a start with a sore shoulder.
• He threw his fastball at 88-91 MPH instead of 93-94.
Should I give the A’s the benefit of the doubt, because after all they are the professional experts and I’m not? Here’s what I know:
• In March 2005, when Dan Meyer was throwing 85 MPH instead of 93 MPH, the A’s let him keep going out there until he effectively destroyed a very promising career.
• In March-May 2005, when Esteban Loaiza was throwing 82 MPH instead of 93 MPH, the A’s let him keep going out there getting lit up again and again.
• Today, Huston Street finally acknowledged that his recent drop in performance and velocity results from trying to pitch through pain (groin). I'm sure we were all stunned by this news.
So what do we know? We know that drops in velocity should be taken seriously – only more so when the pitcher is a known injury concern and only more so when you are talking about a pitcher whom the A’s are counting on to be a big part of the future.
Should I give the A’s brass the benefit of the doubt and assume they are not negligently risking the career of a promising young pitcher? That was rhetorical. I understand the bullpen is chewed up, but that would not excuse letting a pitcher throw if he is not right – you piece a few innings together with every available pitcher throwing an inning or two and then call up yet another arm, any arm. It’s Gallagher’s arm that matters and if it turns out he was pitching hurt I will flip out like you’ve never seen. Because what makes the rebuilding tolerable is the talent the A’s got in return, and as a fan I expect my team to know how to treat an investment.
And right now, the A’s are closer to “rebuild bankruptcy” with every passing day.