MASH Report (5/23/14) – Title Included

• Just a bit more analysis on Jose Fernandez. He admits the pain started during the game and pitched through the pain.

Fernandez said he felt discomfort in his elbow during his last outing on May 9, a loss to the Padres in San Diego when he was roughed up for six runs in five-plus innings. He discounted speculation that the injury occurred because he might have altered his delivery after being hit in the knee by a line drive against the Dodgers on May 4.

Even after feeling discomfort during his next start, Fernandez said he didn’t think it was anything serious.

“It never popped, it was just a little pinch,” Fernandez said. “I don’t think I altered my delivery. Everything was the same because I was trying to not let anybody see that I was in a little pain. I was trying to pitch with it without anybody knowing, not even [catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia]. I didn’t think it was anything to worry about.”

A theory I have been pondering is “Pitchers throwing at the extreme limitations of their body have to be more cognizant of possible injuries/changes”. One small change in motion could just destroy them. For pitchers who aren’t throwing as hard, a little bump isn’t as big a deal. Take a car getting a flat tire. If a Civic is driving 30 mph and hits small unexpected bump, not much damage could happen. Now if a sports car hits the same bump doing 120 mph, th resulting crash will make the 10 o’clock news.

Cliff Lee has been dealing with a bit of elbow pain for a couple of weeks.

“One time he would mention that he felt something, then the next time he wouldn’t,” Sandberg said. “It really would come and go. His bullpens were solid, no complaints there … and the results were there right to the end. That said, maybe it’s on the mild side. Maybe it was caught and a short-term thing. It was something that didn’t affect his starts whatsoever. I’m being optimistic.”

Looking over Lee’s stats, one number sticks out, 35-years-old. Few pitchers have been able to pitch effectively into their late 30’s. This injury may mark the point when we should no longer be expecting 200+ innings from Lee because he on the DL a couple of times a year.

Andrew Cashner may need to change his slider mechanic and/or usage.

The root of the issue seems to be Cashner’s slider, which he did not throw at all two starts ago against Kansas City because his elbow wasn’t feeling right and he felt the pitch was stressing it.

“It may be,” the cause of the injury, Black said. “The way he wraps the slider can put [stress] on the flexor muscle in the forearm.

“He wraps that slider a little quicker than you’d like to see.”

I don’t get it. His elbow was hurting so bad that he couldn’t throw one of his better pitches. Did he not tell anyone his elbow hurt that bad? Did the team/catcher not notice he didn’t thrown one slider? Why was he allowed to make his next start? So much went wrong here.

• Well, now we know that Prince Fielder’s ailing back was the cause for huge decline. Ryan Campbell took quite a bit of heat a few years back when he said Fielder was ready for a steep decline, but his stance is looking better now. A human body is not meant to carry a bunch of extra weight around, yet alone participate in competitive sports with it. Fielder minds me of Mo Vaughn and when I think of Mo Vaughn, his bio in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract comes to mind:

Thirty-two years old and carrying a piano, one would suspect that his good years are running out. But he could fool us.

Vaughn didn’t.

• In his last start, Felix Doubront could not feel his shoulder and continued to pitch.

The numbness began to snowball. Pitch by pitch, the sensation started to grow and grow — to the point where Doubront could hardly feel the grip on the baseball. That sensation, subsequently, began to spread, affecting the lefty’s ability to locate his pitches and generate the arm speed to create the velocity to complement his offspeed pitches.

“I couldn’t feel my shoulder,” Doubront said. “It was weird. I felt weird.”

Doubront’s inability to grip the baseball, let alone locate his pitches, had obvious impact on the lefty’s performance. As the numbness grew, Doubront’s effectiveness diminished. After the walk to Navarro, Doubront’s ability to execute his game plan disappeared completely.

Well, his velocity was definitively down.

The Red Sox definitively did notice the difference.

“It isn’t one specific area that you have a strength deficit, even though he has overall fatigue,” manager John Farrell said. “We saw that in the velocity last night. The exam didn’t pinpoint one specific spot. The impact of the contusion didn’t allow the shoulder to fire normally.”

They decided to shut him down. A total different approach compared to the Padres who just decided to just let Cashner keep pitching.  No wonder the seven Padres have had Tommy John surgeries over the past two seasons.

Carlos Gonzalez’s knees are still bothering him.

CarGo feels discomfort in his knee the most when he’s on the bases, but it affects him at the plate, too.

“Sometimes, thinking about my hitting mechanics, and sometimes it bothers me (there) too. To have the leg kick and sit on that knee,” he said. “When I’m having that pain, even without trying, my reaction is to just get (off) of that knee and jump out front.

“It’s causing me problems in the batter’s box. But like I said, I’m fighting with that, trying to do anything possible to stay in the lineup every day. I know I’m going to get hot and not going to be talking about this.”

At least he is playing and not on the DL, I guess.

PAIN (Pitcher Abuse INdex) Rankings (min 100 pitches in April and in May)

Any player with a PAIN value over 100 has the traits of a pitcher likely to be hurt.

HURT (Hitter’s Under-performance from Recent Trauma) Rankings :

Any player with a HURT value over 100 has the traits of a batter playing through an injury.

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Does M. Carpenter have a recent injury?