Many have pointed out that Tom Gorzelanny is a major injury risk in 2008. He pitched 40.1 more innings last season than he did the previous year. In addition to that huge increase, he also racked up some unnecessarily high pitch counts. So I think this would be a good time to start Gorzo Injury Watch 2008. I will mostly keep an eye on his velocity, along with his strike/ball ratio.
Gorzelanny made his first start on April 2 in Atlanta. He allowed three runs on six hits in six innings, walking three and striking out three. His final line met the minimum requirements for a quality start, despite being mostly unspectacular. He threw 95 pitches, including 54 strikes and 41 balls. In the first inning, he touched 94 mph twice. He maxed out around 90 for the rest of the game, and his fastball was pretty steady around 88. That is a large drop from last season, when he regularly was in the 92-94 mph range.
In the home opener against the Cubs on April 7, Gorzelanny was very erratic. He only made it through 2.1 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out two, and only threw 36 strikes among his 70 pitches. He reached 90 mph a bit more consistently than his first start (I counted about 12 pitches that were 90+), but maxed out at 91. His total lack of command was disheartening in this game.
In his most recent start against the Reds on Sunday, Gorzelanny was much more effective. He allowed just one run on four hits in his 6.1 innings, throwing 62 of 102 pitches for strikes. However, he walked four and only struck out one, a sign that his stuff was unimpressive. Through five innings, he did not touch 90 mph once. While battling through the sixth inning, he reached back and hit 90 mph five times. Outside of those couple of pitches, Gorzelanny was mostly in the 86-88 mph range with his fastball. He also seemed to rely heavily on his off speed pitches. At one point, he even tossed a breaking ball at 69 mph.
Gorzelanny has made three starts this season, and his velocity has been down in all three. He has struggled often with his control, and has been mostly ineffective. I am obviously not the first to suggest that his 2008 season will be a disappointment, but the evidence continues to build. I would expect a trip to the DL by the All-Star break. The Pirates will be in trouble at that point, as they have very little starting depth in Indy. If he does manage to stay healthy, do not expect much consistency. It is going to be a long season for Tom Gorzelanny.