Even though Trevor Cahill ultimately had a successful Diamondbacks' debut on Tuesday, as he went six innings and allowed only one run against the Padres, it was hard to feel too comfortable about it. This is mostly because last night, Trevor Cahill had one of the more absurd starts to a game in recent memory. As you probably already know, Cahill allowed five walks through two innings. At one point, I remember looking at Gameday and noticing that Cahill had thrown 42 pitches, 28 of which were balls. For those scoring at home, after the first two innings, Cahill had a BB/9 of 22.5.
What does this mean going forward? Presumably nothing. Cahill has a career BB/9 of 3.41, and I'd assume he'll end up rather closer to that than 22.5. Odds are, we can chalk this start up to a statistical blip caused by anxiety about making his first start with a new team. But just in case he doesn't improve (and because I haven't done one of these in a while), I'd like to offer an alternative theory:
Warm-ups before Tuesday's Game
Trevor Cahill: /hums "Happy Days" theme while warming up
Edinson Volquez: /wanders over.
Cahill: "Hey, how's it going?"
Volquez: "Pretty good. You nervous about your first start for a new team?"
Cahill: "Nah, man. It's just the Padres. Just gotta be relaxed and throw strikes."
Volquez: "Throw what?"
Volquez: "I don't know what that is. Is it some sort of technical term?"
Cahill: "No, it's when you throw a baseball over the plate in a baseball game. Y'know, like you're supposed to do for your job?"
Volquez: "Oh, yeah, that."
"I don't really do that."
Cahill: "What do you mean? You just don't throw strikes?"
Volquez: "Not if I can help it. I just got bored with it, you know? It's like, there are so many directions I could throw the ball while standing in the middle of the diamond, and they expect to throw it in the exact same two square foot box every damn time. Where's the excitement in that?"
Cahill: "I don't think that's how it wor--"
Volquez: "So now I just throw the ball wherever I feel like. Like, there's this guy named Chad who used to have Reds' season tickets right behind the catcher. And every single game I would throw a ball over the catcher right at Chad's head."
Volquez: "Because f**k Chad, that's why. I don't like his face."
Cahill: /tries desperately to make eye contact with someone else
Volquez: "That's not it though. I try to hit the 'Aladdin Bail Bonds' sign behind the catcher at least once a night. It's a cross-promotional thing. Whenever I hit it, Dick Enberg can say, 'And that one rolls to the backstop and ricochets off the Aladdin Bail Bonds sign. Aladdin Bail Bonds: Getting you out of jail in three easy wishes' or something like that. And then a nice man in a suit hands me a check for 20,000 dollars after the game."
Cahill: "Wow, that's really--"
Volquez: "One time, we were playing the Giants, and I threw the ball into center field instead, just because I could. The best part was that Aaron Rowand chased after it and swung at it anyway while it was rolling."
Cahill: "But why? Why don't you just throw strikes like everyone else?"
Volquez: "Why? Why?! Why do any of us do anything? To show them I won't be a part of their system, that's why."
Cahill: "I don't...What?"
Volquez: "See, three years ago, I thought I had it all figured out. I threw strikes and everybody loved me. But I was not happy, because I was not free."
Volquez: "I had no agency. My catcher told me what pitch to throw and where to throw it and I threw it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was true of every aspect of my so-called life. Is not life just a series of pitches dictated by the Paul Bako that is society?"
Volquez: "The more I looked at it, the more I realized I was enslaved--enslaved by a capitalistic world where our Bourgeoisie overlords contain the Proletariat by promising them a livelihood in exchange for throwing the ball over the plate like so many trained monkeys."
Cahill: "Dude, are you sure you're part of the Proletariat? Didn't you make like $2.5 million last ye--"
Volquez: "Silence! I yearned to be free, to exert some control over my life. And thus, I realized something that would change my life forever: that I, not Paul Bako, controlled where the ball went when it left my hand. I didn't have to be part of their system any more."
Volquez: "So I stopped throwing the ball over the plate. And yes, I lost games, lost fans. They took away my home, upended my life as they traded me in exchange for a pitcher who would play their sick game. But I gained something far more important: my freedom. As Emerson said, 'To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.'" Think about that."
Cahill: /thinks about that
Volquez: "Do you understand how lost you truly are? And do you understand the path you must take to assert your freedom from oppression?"
Cahill: "...I do now."
Volquez: "Then, my son, you are no longer just a boy, but now a man, with the agency to live his life however he pleases. Go forth and prosper."
Volquez: /Tosses the baseball to Cahill symbolically, misses down and away
So, yeah, that's one theory. Or he might have just had a bad day. I'm pretty sure my theory's right though.