In a joint project with scientists located in the Astros’ “Nerd Cave,” England’s foremost medical research publication, The Glancet, is conducting a study of a possible new virus that seems to attack pitching arms.
World leading virologist, Hu Bang, is leading the team.
“What strikes me about this outbreak of arm trouble on the Astros is the rapid exponential rate of increase.” said Bang. ”It has all the hallmarks of a highly contagious viral infection.”
It is believed that Lance McCullers may be the original vector of this career killing virus, first contracting the symptoms in late 2018. Since joining his team this Spring, Justin Verlander, Brad Peacock, Joe Biagini, Austin Pruitt, Ryan Pressly, Chris Devenski, and most recently Roberto Osuna, have exhibited similar symptoms. They include: coughing up bad pitches, fever at the sight of opposing batters, chills at the very thought of taking a pitching mound, overall weakness, general malaise and lack of pitching libido resulting in lack of control, soft fastballs and hanging sliders
Even top prospect Forrest Whitley, who is currently not even on the team, seems to have contracted the mystery ailment.
One special area of research will be whether this was a naturally occurring virus, perhaps a mutant form of Covid 19, or whether rogue scientists from the LA and/or New York areas created a “designer revenge virus” especially suited to attack Astros arms.
One researcher on the team, who preferred to remain anonymous, acknowledged how unlikely a designer virus just for the Astros was. But he added “we won’t discount any possibility. You wouldn’t believe the advancements in technology for developing novel coronaviruses, and there are people in the baseball world who would stop at nothing to finally have a chance at beating the Astros and leveling the playing field.”
After hearing that the Glancet was investigating scientists connected with the Dodgers for creating this possible virus, one unnamed official high in the Dodgers’ front office replied, “It’s just karma, dude. Hey, we’re having problems too. Our new boy Joe Kelly threw three times at Astros hitters and missed each time. Don’t worry though. You’ll get yours eventually. That karma’s a bitch. Maybe if you people there in Texas legalized weed you wouldn’t be having this problem.”
Astros pitcher Joe Smith is a special person of interest to the investigative team. He has chosen not to play this year on the Astros and is reportedly in good health. Was he tipped off about this new potential virus? If so by whom?
One reason the Glancet research team thinks this may be a mutant strain of COVID 19 is that, like COVID 19, it seems to rarely attack younger people. None of the 11 Astros rookies who have been brought in to replace the stricken veterans are showing any signs of the disease. In fact, as a group, their 1.33 ERA is better than any pitching staff in baseball. So perhaps this virus only enervates older pitchers, but actually helps younger ones, an area of particular interest to the Astros Nerd Cave.
The Astros are considering placing their only three unaffected veteran pitchers, Zack Greinke, Josh James, and Framber Valdez, in an NBA style quarantine bubble. There’s even talk of making them wear military style gas masks and Level 4 MOPP gear at all times.
But others think it’s already too late, as they already show signs of early onset of the disease, which if officially uncovered, will be designated Astrid 20. Why is Zack Greinke throwing 3 mph slower than he has the last two years? Why did Josh James throw 11 walks in only six innings so far this year? He’s even grooving grand slams to sub-replacement 40 year-old has-beens.
It’s true, Framber Valdez didn’t pitch any worse than usual in his first start. Maybe he’s got immunity. Or maybe it just isn’t possible to throw any worse than that, at least according to the scientists at the Glancet.
It is imperative that researchers come to rapid discoveries because, if this turns out to be a transmissible virus, it could threaten the MLB season even more directly than COVID 19. That is, unless you think that it’s Major League Baseball when every available pitcher has never thrown a ball to a batter above AA, like it is with the Astros.
(Editors note: Congrats to Astrid 20 free Framber Valdez, who froze the Angels with 6.1 innings of scoreless relief to lead the Astros to victory Sunday)