Tonight Dustin McGowan takes the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays in their home opener against the New York Yankees.
The story of McGowan getting to pitch today is about as inspirational story as it gets.
But don’t expect McGowan to pitch very deep into the game today.
McGowan has a bit of an injury history. And he pitched out of the bullpen last season. He didn’t pitch at all in 2012. And he hasn’t started a game since 2011. He also didn’t exactly pitch a lot of innings during spring training.
And he’s still in the process of being stretched out as a starting pitcher.
If you don’t know, that means that he’s not quite ready to throw a lot of pitches in a game as he’s still working towards being able to. Or heck, if he has an inning or 2 where he throws a lot of pitches he might have to leave a game after 70 pitches or so.
And since the Blue Jays are still stretching McGowan out and monitoring his pitch count, the Yankees have to be one of the 2 worst teams McGowan could be making his first start against. (The other team being the Red Sox). That’s because one of the Yankees calling card is their hitters all see a lot of pitches per at bat and drive up a pitcher’s pitch count.
So it’s hard enough for a completely prepared starting pitcher to pitch deep into a game against the Yankees., let alone a guy like McGowan who is still building up arm strength and durability.
Don’t get me wrong! It’s possible McGowan could shut out the Yankees and rack up a decent amount of strikeouts. But strikeouts push up your pitch count to0.
But considering McGowan’s situation and the team he’s starting against tonight I’ll be shocked if he pitches more than 5 innings. Ideally, he gives the Blue Jays a minimum of four innings. Luckily, Todd Redmond was spared from the Tampa series, so there is a capable swing man available to pair with McGowan, giving the Blue Jays a fall-back option in the worst of cases.
Regardless, we’re hoping for the best.