Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Dodger Thoughts

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

09  08  07 
About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

The Manicure Cure
2004-05-20 09:21
by Jon Weisman

Sometimes, an injury can be the best thing to happen to a pitcher. Hideo Nomo's torn fingernail against the Phillies on Wednesday might not be one of those times, but then again, it might be.

The injury will reportedly force Nomo to miss at least his next start. This allows Jim Tracy to remove the struggling Nomo out of the rotation without stigmatizing him.

It also occured during an outing that, by Nomo's 2004 standards, was positive. Nomo was throwing strikes Wednesday - 17 out of 23 pitches. I couldn't see the game, so correct me if my suspicion was wrong, but it looked like the Phillies expected Nomo to be wild and had the take sign on at the outset. They took five called strikes in the first inning, including three in a row by Bobby Abreu. Nomo fairly well shocked them by zeroing in on the plate.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Nomo had his old velocity back. Two out of six batters got hits, this was no great turnaround - there's every reason to wonder whether the Phillies wouldn't have taken Nomo out in the second if his bloody finger didn't beat them to it. But the fact that he was finding the strike zone when the injury occured can console Nomo.

This leads me, however, to my next point, and the one that may be the most important. The injury forces Nomo to get a nice spring rest, and that has long been what many have suspected that he needs. Consider that in nine starts this season, Nomo has allowed a grand total of three runs in the first inning. His control has been relatively sharp - only two walks. He has not been a disaster coming out of the pregame warmup. It has been as the innings progressed that he has faltered.

Becoming a couch potato doesn't make you stronger, so ultimately, Nomo is going to have to build up strength through exertion. But isn't it possible that he needs more in reserve, that someone needs to hit the reset button with him? That he isn't fully healed from his surgery and needs more convalescence?

The door is open for the Dodgers to decide that Nomo should miss two starts and therefore go on the disabled list, followed by a minor-league rehabilitation assignment - without this indicating a setback to Nomo's pitching arm itself.

With Kevin Brown's departure, Nomo was counted on to be the Dodger ace this year - but that was bad math. It's time to start over. Sooner or later, Nomo will return to the starting rotation, and we may well find that this just isn't his year. But I like the idea that he'll get some rest before rejoining the battle.

Update: ESPN's newly posted defense-independent pitching statistics reveal that Nomo is the worst of major league baseball's 110 starting pitchers this season. Today's Dodger starter, Kazuhisa Ishii, is 100th.

Lots of great stats on this page - they deserve a separate entry. Until then, for more on DIPS, see my preseason entry here.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.