Without trying to start off in a morbid way, one of the things I thought a lot about during the last years of my late wife and pal Cathy Hedgecock's life had to do with how I would prefer to go.
Cathy died of breast cancer, enduring it for seven years before it finally overcame a little lest than seven years ago.
Of course we were all happy to have the time with her, and for her to be around, but dying like that is a rugged burden in and of itself, and many times we talked with one another about whether it would be better to simply go to sleep and not wake up, or to live longer but have to endure the slow deterioration of one's mind and body.
Truth is I wondered this before Catthy and her illness, and, well, without meaning to demean the mystery of life and death, as I endured pitching issues in just about every fantasy front over the past two weeks I have begun to think about this analogy as it relates to my pitching staffs. And well, since pitching injuries have been so widespread that I have to think anyone reading this will relate. At least to the pitching portion, that is.
In Tout Wars my squad had moved up into a nice third place slot, and was cruising along, in fourth in wins, WHIP, and ERA, third in saves, and second in whiffs. And then Brandon McCarthy was on the DL for the second time, Derek Holland for almost a month, and C.C. Sabathia now for a couple of weeks, all joining Jeff Niemann on the team DL. That is four of my six starting pitchers on the Disabled List at the same time.
For, if you watched his start of last Tuesday against the White Sox, you know exactly what I mean. 4.2 innings, and 13 hits, 9 earned runs, and a walk (he did get four strikeouts anyway) and an ERA that has suddenly blossomed to 7.79 and a terrifying WHIP of 2.25 over 17.1 innings.
To compound the problem, Oswalt was relieved by a guy I really liked in Justin Grimm. He went three innings and surrendered three more runs and hits and a pair of walks, raising his ERA to 10.80.
So, between the pair, I moved from that comfy third place slot to tenth place overnight. Kind of like getting hit by a bus that runs a stop sign, right?
By contrast, I am in an NFBC Slow Draft League. That format is a 50-round draft and follow setup, meaning the 50 guys you take away from the draft are the 50 guys you finish with, like it or not. No free agents. No FAAB bidding. No trades. Period.
Well, in that league I selected 20 pitchers, and at last look 10 of them were on the DL. Worse, it looks like my #2 guy, Daniel Hudson is out until late 2013 with TJ surgery. Joining him were Sabathia, and Shaun Marcum over the last ten days, while Tim Stauffer, Alexi Ogando, and Niemann are all down. Not to mention Matt Capps, and while Dallas Braden and Eric Surkamp started the year injured, around draft time it was expected that both would be chucking the pill by All Star time.
In that league it got so tough that I could not even replace Sabathia, Capps, and Hudson, who all went on the DL almost two Sundays ago. Meaning I have been surviving or functioning or whatever with six pitchers the past two weeks.
And, well, dying a slow death, or so it seems.
Of course with the All Star Break there is hope and the chance for renewal.
Marcum, Sabathia, and Holland are all due back next week. In fact there are rumors that Holland might even get reactivated this weekend, though I will not be able to take advantage of that. Which means he will pitch like a champ, and then when I put him in the rotation to start after the break, he will get torched a la Oswalt.
But, chances are you did not read this to hear me whine about my team and pitching woes.
My guess is you have enough of your own.