Saturday, August 18, 2007
Matt Chico Will Be Back (plus MAO of the Week for 8-17)
Matt Chico has left us, finding himself with AAA Columbus after another rough start. Whereas his last such start hastened the triumphant return of future Cy Young winner Shawn Hill, this outing against the Mets was enough to (presumably) end his season in Washington. With Chico’s departure, we salute his brave stint in DC, one thrust upon him despite his lack of experience, and also present a Manny Acta Optimist of the Week award to his biggest supporters. It’s something of a season-achievement award that we give to the Matt Chico-sphere for their support of Chico all year long.
We appreciate the fact that they latched on to this unheard-of rookie during spring training and brought attention to the raw talent and potential that should now be so obvious to us all. We look forward to the Chico-sphere's continued support of their man as he blows his way through AAA on his way back to the majors.
With Manny dropping hints of a six-man rotation once everyone is healthy again, there will be room for Chico in the future, even with the gluttonous bounty of pitching that DC will reap in the next few years.
Despite the struggles Chico has had recently, we owe him a tip of the ‘tism cap for his mid-season finery, including perhaps the purest victory of the year, the
Independence Day brilliance. He also deserves our thanks for being the lone member of the season’s starring rotation to survive unscathed. While early on we watched John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Shawn Hill, and Jerome Williams (remember him?) fall in quick succession, Chico somehow escaped the curse. Oddly enough, the injury-avoidance so uncommon with the Nats this season may have been his undoing, wearing him down without a trip to the DL to rest and causing him to lose some of the stuff that so baffled the Cubs on July 4th and others at other times during his dreamy mid-summer run. We feel confident that the control problems he is having are, like the minor issues with Jason Campbell's mechanics and ball protection, correctable.
Take care, Matt. See you soon.