Brian Wilson's season is over. He made only two appearances since his plane debuted. The longtime Giants closer suffered an elbow ligament injury Thursday at Coors Field, and while more medical opinions will be gathered in the next week, it is likely Wilson will require Tommy John surgery and miss the entirety of the 2012 season. His final year before free agency is 2013, so he will be working to rebuild his value in his first contract year.
The events surrounding that last time on the mound are interesting to say the least. He struggled with location, velocity and movement throughout the appearance, appearing injured. After a 1-0 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Buster Posey rushed out to the mound and waved in the medical staff. Wilson continued to pitch - poorly - but escaped with a save. After the save, Wilson's typically vibrant celebration was turned down several levels. Bruce Bochy was unconcerned and suggested it was due to a turned ankle.
After announcing the real identity of the injury, Wilson spoke frankly to the media. Among the most notable quotes:
Q: At what point did you realize something was seriously wrong?
Wilson: 2010, if you want to be honest. I was pitching on borrowed time last year and it's luck.
This is not shocking. Wilson was still good in 2011, but he was nowhere near the dominant force he was in 2009/10.
Q: Did you feel a pop on the 1-0 pitch the other day?
Wilson: Yeah, you can tell what pitch didn't work well on film or on the walk behind the mound...I was still able to finish the inning and my mindset was, `OK, if it's inflammation, get out of your mess. If this is season-ending, your last pitch is going to be preserving Bumgarner's win, and not walking off the mound a failure.
Apparently, Wilson was fully aware he was injured and that it could be a ruptured UCL. The medical staff visited him, yet he still pushed forward with trying to close the game, perhaps doing even more structural damage. He must not trust his fellow bullpen mates to think he is best suited to close the game injured over his healthy pen mates...
I know Giants fans are going to look at this as some huge loss, but you know, we have the best bullpen in the league...They're going to fill in my role the best they can, and I don't think they're going to falter. I think we're going to take the West no matter what...
Or maybe not. Closers tend to be bizarre, cocky men. Brian Wilson fulfills this stereotype more than any closer in a decade. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that it would make sense for him to finish the game completely injured. That wrecking himself and potentially blowing the save (to drop the Giants to 1-5) is worth the risk of quitting, not finishing his sole career role - finishing games.
Jorge de la Rosa had a comparable mindset last year, but he exited the game when it was clear his elbow was toast. It isn't uncommon for pitchers to pitch through drastic injury based on perceived duty. Wilson is just the most extreme of these examples, which could not be more fitting.
NL West Standings
NL West Report
Arizona (6-3, 2nd, 2.5 GB)
You Should Know: All nine games played by Arizona has been decided by 1 or 2 runs.
News: The luster for Josh Collmenter has worn off, leaving Diamondbacks with the legitimate question of who should replace the axe-thrower in the rotation. Fortunately for them, they have ridiculous starting pitching depth.
#55 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Feb 07, 1986
|2012 - Josh Collmenter||0-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||7.0||10||11||10||3||4||6||12.86||2.00|
Stephen Drew took his first at-bats in an extended Spring Training game. There is still no timetable for his return.
When the Diamondbacks arrived at Coors Field Friday, they were 5-1, their best start since 2000.
Paul Swydan profiles the Diamondbacks' leadoff hitter for Fangraphs, who is not the type of leadoff hitter one would expect from a resounding divisional favorite.
Trevor Cahill, usually a decently reliable strike thrower, walked five in the first two innings on April 10. Zavada's Moustache of AZSankepit has an amusing theory as to the origin of Cahill's wildness.
Quotable: On the progress of Justin Upton's injured thumb, manager Kirk Gibson offered this analysis to the writers:
"He's beating on it every day, so it's not going to heal as quick as it would normally. If he were a writer, it would heal a lot quicker."
Transactions: Outrighted LHP Mike Zagurski to AAA Reno (4/4).
Injuries: Places SS Stephen Drew on the 15-day DL due to his ankle injury from last July, retroactive to March 26 (4/4). Placed RHP Takashi Saito on the 15-day DL (calf) retroactive to April 1 (4/4). Saito may be activated early this week. Justin Upton has been playing through the pain of a jammed left thumb.
Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries
Los Angeles (9-1, 1st)
Last Week: 9-1. 3-1 @ Padres. 3-0 vs. Pirates. 3-0 vs Padres. It was a marshmallow soft opening three series for the Dodgers, but they had as much killer instinct as Jim Tracy has on Sundays. No wait, that doesn't sound right.
You Should Know: The last remaining MLB team with one loss in 2012 was the Dodgers. The last time Los Angeles managed that feat, they won the World Series in 1955, when the team was still in Brooklyn and Jackie Robinson was their third baseman.
News: U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of the Dodgers to Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson et al. This was essentially a formality to begin with, but now the new ownership group will officially take control of the franchise two weeks from today.
Aaron Harang tied a Dodgers record by striking out nine batters in a row. He ended up with 13 punchouts in the game, which has him currently leading MLB in K/9 with 16.03 despite his near-six ERA. The 18 strikeouts by the staff in the game tied a franchise record for a 9-inning game. Ramon Martinez (not Pedro) did that himself in 1990.
#44 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
May 09, 1978
|2012 - Aaron Harang||0-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||10.2||11||8||7||2||7||19||5.91||1.69|
Clayton Kershaw has a 1.99 FIP, yet his strikeout rate is 7.63 K/9 so far, which ranks fourth among Dodgers starters (Harang, Capuano - 9.90, Billingsley - 9.42)
Dan Mennella profiles a Andre Ethier as a guy to watch heading into free agency. Ethier admits he is motivated this year to earn a big pay day.
Chad Moriyama points out that, while he has carved out a strong career, former Rockie Juan Uribe has always had a horrible swing.
Ted Lilly made his 2012 debut Saturday and was very impressive against the Padres. As Eric Stephen noted, the debut seemed eerily familiar to Dodgers fans.
Quotable: Federal Judge Kevin Gross, of Delaware, who approved the Dodgers' sale in bankruptcy court:
"I congratulate Mr. McCourt, who was able to see the big picture, and $2 billion is a very big picture. I hope this will bring a very refreshing air to baseball in Los Angeles, which I have said before is a franchise of mythical proportions. I'd like to have seen in the documents that they can't sign Cole Hamels. I didn't see it, but I may insert it."
Transactions: Placed RHP Ronald Belisario on the restricted list (4/4). Optioned OF Matt Angle, C Tim Federowicz and RHP Nathan Eovaldi to AAA Albuquerque (4/4).
Injuries: Placed LHP Ted Lilly (stiff neck) and 2B Ivan DeJesus Jr (torn oblique) on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 26 (4/4). Activated LHP Ted Lilly from the 15-day DL and placed RHP Todd Coffey on the 15-day DL (knee) (4/14).
Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries
San Diego (2-8, 5th, 7.0 GB)
Last Week: 2-8. 1-3 vs. Dodgers. 1-2 @ Diamondbacks. 0-3 @ Dodgers.
You Should Know:
This Week: 3 game road series @ Rockies. 4 game home series vs. Phillies.
News: John Moores is working on selling the Padres. Maury Brown believes the Padres could sell for as much as $700million. It would seem owning an MLB is getting to be just out of my future price range. Tom Krasovic backs up Brown's estimate.
Dan Hayes of the North County Times profiles potential ownership groups and suggests Tony Gwynn might become the public face of one of those groups.
The trade deadline is still more than 14 weeks away, but Dan Mennella is getting a head start in identifying trade chips. Naturally, Huston Street is one such trade target. Particularly after an abysmal start to 2012, San Diego figures to have little use for a proven closer by July with a $7million salary.
#16 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres
Aug 02, 1983
|2012 - Huston Street||0-0||3||0||0||0||1||0||3.0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0.00||.00|
Baseball Nation's Jeff Sullivan tagged Dennis Tankersley as a potential "next Ryan Vogelsong." That quest ended before it started, as the Padres released him just over a week ago.
Carlos Quentin is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday, but Quentin took his first live batting practice over the weekend. His time table for his Padres debut is likely around the end of the month.
"I looked up and saw four levels [of the ballpark] and thought ... this is the real thing."
Transactions: Recalled RHP Brad Brach from AAA Tucson and outrighted RHP Erik Hamren to AA San Antonio (4/5). Acquired LHP Brian Tallet from the Pirates for a PTBNL or cash and assigned Tallet to AA San Antonio (4/6). Recalled LHP Josh Spence from AAA Tucson (4/7). Called up RHP Joe Wieland from AAA Tucson (4/14).
San Diego Padres Injuries
San Francisco (4-5, t-3rd, 4.5 GB)
Last Week: 4-5. 0-3 @ Diamondbacks. 2-1 @ Rockies. 2-1 vs. Pirates.
You Should Know: Barry Zito's complete game shutout at Coors last Monday is tough to explain on many levels, not the least of which that he only threw 11 first pitch strikes to his 32 batters....Somehow, the last team in MLB to finish a game with 3 or less runs scored...the Giants. They scored one against Kevin Correia yesterday after scoring four or more in their first eight games.
This Week: 3-game home series vs. Phillies, first 3 games of a 4 game road series @ Mets.
News: Wilson isn't the only long-time dominant pitcher concerning Giants fans. Tim Lincecum has been bad in several ways through two 2012 starts. Rob Neyer wonders whether it is time to panic. For Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal connects the oft-connected dots between Matt Cain's extension and Tim Lincecum's struggles.
#55 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants
Jun 15, 1984
|2012 - Tim Lincecum||0-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||7.2||14||11||11||2||3||10||12.91||2.22|
Cain's first start of the season against Arizona was terrible, but as noted by GiantsNirvana, Cain's second start was the best of his career.
Despite promises that Brandon Belt would start a majority of the games to start the year, Belt has had just one start since the first series of the season. He is 1-for-4 with a double and a walk since the opening series. With Giants baseball fans crying foul over small sample size abuse, Grant Brisbee writes with hope that the Giants have legitimate concerns.
Pat Burrell was a celebrated player for the Giants' World Series team, the organization he last played with. He became a fan favorite for his cameo as "The Machine" in Brian Wilson's ridiculous videos, and there were whispers of him staying in baseball with a job for the Giants. Naturally, Burrell decided to sign a one-day contract with Philadelphia to retire as a Phillie. Burn.
Quotable: Bruce Bochy, on Brandon Belt:
"You like to watch your players when they're struggling and see how they handle it. That's what separates your average player from your good players. How they deal with adversity, their mental toughness. That's what you got to have in this game."
Transactions: Acquired RHP George Kontos from the Yankees for C Chris Stewart and optioned Kontos to AAA Fresno (4/4). Called up OF Gregor Blanco and optioned RHP Steve Edlefsen and C Eli Whiteside to AAA Fresno (4/4). Placed 1B Angel Villalona on the restricted list (4/7).
Injuries: Activated RHP Ryan Vogelsong (back) from the 15-day DL (4/15) and placed RHP Brian Wilson on the 15-day DL (4/15). Buster Posey dealt with shingles last week.