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Game Hero, 54 - 58

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Brandon Backe
  • W, 3 - 1
  • 7 IP, 3 H, 2 K
  • 65 Game Score
  • Back to back wins for the first time since September '05

The strikeout to walk ratio for Brandon continues to be worrisome, but for the second straight game, the result was not. Backe not only has back to back wins for the first time this season, he's also got consecutive quality starts--something even Roy hasn't managed to do since the first part of July.

And my! What a shiny, better-than-league-average ERA he now has!

And perhaps I can share a little aside if you don't mind. I remember back in March when Will Carroll did his preseason health report for the Astros, he was very dismissive of Backe's long-term chances of productivity, writing

Converted position players turned pitchers seldom stay reliably healthy. Backe has never been healthy long enough to suffer a serious breakdown. Yet.

Later, when Backe got the sprained elbow, Carroll wrote

Backe, a converted outfielder, is the latest in a long line of conversions that end up injured. We?ll know more about the severity of the injury by Saturday, but for now, watch him very closely.

and at the time I had to grudgingly concede that Carroll had predicted the situation.

However, in contemplating Backe's thus far successful return the other day, it occurred to me that I could think of one converted position player who'd had a very long and injury-free career: Trevor Hoffman, who came up through the Reds system as an infielder. Hoffman is sort of the Craig Biggio of pitchers: in 13 major league seasons, Hoffman has been on the DL exactly once. Now I'm not an expert on injuries like Carroll is. And maybe Hoffman is just the exception that proves the rule. Certainly Victor Zambrano has been oft-injured.

But Backe's last couple starts--and the memory of his first start this year, for which he also received the highly-coveted Game Hero nod--have me excited again about his future with the club.

And who would want to ruin that kind of optimism with generic naysaying and unfounded pessimism?