The Saga of Gil Meche's back

The lastest part of the Gil Meche injury soreness saga is news that he will pitch today to test his "dead arm".

But there's a claim spreading like the Swine Flu out there. The myth that "Gil Meche is better after throwing lots of pitches, therefore Trey shouldn't get so much heat for keeping him out there for 132 pitches"

It is a complete and total logical fallacy for one concrete reason. Gil Meche had back pain. And was put out to pitch over 115 pitches multiple times after the back pain flared up. Gil Meche's performance coming off of high pitch outings is as relevant as your feelings coming off of a twinkie bender. Just because something feels or looks good doesn't mean it's good for you, or good management. And what Gil Meche did at times when he wasn't coming off of game-ending back tightness doesn't factor into the question of "Should we keep a pitcher out there for 115+ pitches after he left a game with back injuries). Let's go more in-depth.

For those of you out of the loop, the back pain story goes back to April 28th when "[Meche] left the game early with tightness in his lower back"

In the next two games, Meche threw 116 and 120 pitches. To review that point. In two starts after leaving a game with back problems, the same back problems he had since January. Meche threw over 115 pitches twice. Here's some quick division here for you all. 116 pitches over 6 innings is 19.3 pitches per inning. 120 pitches over 5 2/3 IP is 21.2 pitches per inning. 

Certainly that's a new method of back injury treatment.

Following those games, Meche got rocked by the Orioles, got past the last place Indians, and had his shortest outing of the year against the Tigers. Which meant that it was time to change things up and move slightly on the mound.

Then he threw 110 pitches (18.3 pitches per inning), 115 pitches (16.4 pitches per inning), and 132 pitches (14.7 pitches per inning).

The 132 pitch outing and following problems didn't just occur after lots of tame starts. Gil Meche wasn't a chipper buck picking daisies, before getting a 132 pitch outing and having his career go downhill. Arm injuries tend to accumulate more often than "randomly show up" (the random injuries would be more of having something blow out unexpectedly). Gil Meche, by the reports we know, was experiencing back pains, and was kept out there to pitch two of his heaviest workloads directly after he left a game with back tightness. This is how not to handle someone who you pay $11M to and who is the "number one starter" (according to media figures who don't want to give the best pitcher in the AL the honor of being the #1 guy on the Royals).

The question to consider here is not "Was Gil Meche good after heavy work loads?", the Question is "Is it worth it to put Gil Meche out there for 116 pitches, 120 pitches, 115 pitches, 132 pitches when Meche has an acknowledged back problem?"

Much to Trey Hillman's credit, he isn't all that bad with pitch counts. But in this situation, it'll take a big turnaround for him to come out looking good in regards to his decision making skills in the Saga of Gil Meche's back.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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