Dear Dr. McHugh
No pressure big guy!
I remember early last season getting a text from my sister asking if I was watching the game because the Astros had some new guy that was dominating.
Forgive me for choosing not to that evening as I was within weeks of taking the biggest test of my life. It was the test that would determine whether or not I would get a license to practice as a Physical Therapist. Kind of a big deal since I was finishing up seven years of school in order to take this test.
I had told myself studying was a bit more important than a game the Astros were likely to lose given the recent win-loss record of the past several seasons and the guy pitching didn't make the team out of spring training.
Once I looked up the score I immediately turned on the PS3 and tuned into MLB.tv to watch. You were throwing gas that I hadn't realized you had.
I sent a few private messages around to find out who was responsible for a few new ticks.
I was excited.
What this lead to was a season long interest in figuring out why this season dark horse took the rotation on and became a stalwart.
My interest in effective velocity and pitch tunneling turned from just familiarity to swimming in it. You can probably use a google with my name and find a good handful of articles discussing these concepts.
It's partly why I addressed you as Doctor.
You approach the game in a very different way than traditional baseball think tank. Because of this you get way more success than others with the same repertoire. It shows more effort in your preparation. It shows more dedication to craft. It shows more passion for the game.
And that's the Astros way.
Jeff Luhnow and his nerd cave have built an organization that is different than traditional baseball. They have put tons of time, effort, dedication, and passion. This isn't the Yankees or Red Sox with big payrolls. This is a team that does it differently. This is a team that asks the question, "why?"
And despite all the criticisms and jokes, look where you are!
Most of us on the staff here at TCB have said this several times, this is already a successful season. No matter the outcome, this team has exceeded expectations.
So, while you hit the mound for Game 5, remember you weren't supposed to be here. You were unlikely to be in the position you're in. You weren't supposed to be one of the best starters on a playoff team.
But you are.
And it's because this team has earned it.
No pressure big guy.
Brooks Parker aka Subber10