Usually when a pitcher is coming back from a long-term injury, his pitch count doesn’t even approach 100 pitches in his first start back from the ailment.
But Padres’ skipper Bob Melvin didn’t hold Clevinger back by any means on Wednesday.
“Mike Clevinger departs with two outs in the fifth and two on base. 95 pitches for Clev in his first start since 2020 and since his second TJ surgery. For perspective, Clev threw 67 pitches in his final rehab start,” Padres reporter Annie Heilbrunn tweeted.
Mike Clevinger departs with two outs in the fifth and two on base. 95 pitches for Clev in his first start since 2020 and since his second TJ surgery. For perspective, Clev threw 67 pitches in his final rehab start. pic.twitter.com/NqnFF9P1zG
— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) May 4, 2022
Clevinger used the best of his arsenal, and held a surprisingly good lineup in check this afternoon.
An Uneven Ending To A Good, Encouraging Outing
Unfortunately, both of the runners he left on base came around to score, and his final line read 4.2 innings, four hits, three earned runs, three walks, and four strikeouts.
However, he pitched four frames of just one-run ball before getting into trouble in the fifth.
It’s likely that he ran out of gas, especially given the fact his arm wasn’t fully stretched out to handle 90+ pitches.
Still, despite the disappointing ending, his afternoon represented a positive development for him and the Padres.
If he can return to the form that saw him post a 3.11 ERA in 2017, a 3.02 ERA in 2018, and a 2.71 one in 2019, there will be happiness in San Diego.
He just needs to show he is healthy and let the talent in his right arm speak for him.
If they want to make a deep postseason run in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the Padres are going to need the best version of Clevinger.