Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Ben Sheets On the Comeback Trail; Wins First Start Since 2010

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Today, Ben Sheets won his first start since 2010 — his first start since returning from the most extensive arm surgery in the history of major league baseball in mid-2010 — as he led the Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 win over the New York Mets.  Sheets pitched six scoreless innings, threw 88 pitches (57 for strikes), gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out five.

As Atlanta SB Nation.com put it, “Ben Sheets probably couldn’t have imagined a better debut.” 

Carroll Rodgers, writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said this about Sheets’s debut start:

Sheets threw a 91 mph strike to Ruben Tejada to start his day, setting up his first strikeout, and finished it with a 91 mph fastball to strike out David Wright for his fifth. Sheets allowed only two hits in between, while walking one, and threw 57 of his 88 pitches for strikes. He outdueled Johan Santana to win his first game since July 10, 2010 with Oakland against the Angels.

Rodgers also mentioned this toward the end of his blog post:

Sheets, who hadn’t pitched since July 19, 2010 for the Athletics, showed what the Braves have been raving about in his work on the side and in the minors. His fastball velocity was back to 90-92 mph, and he reached back and found 93 mph a few times, which he used to retire Wright. He also mixed in a sharp curveball that he was known for on those days like the one when he struck out 18 Braves in 2004.

Rodgers also had quotes from Sheets in this article, also from the AJC:

“It was pretty incredible,” Sheets said afterward. “Honestly in my mind, two years ago I was done, which was fine. I gave myself ‘coach of the year’ award in youth ball. Somebody asked me ‘Who gives that?’ I said ‘I give it to myself.’”

(Note that Sheets has never been known for his humility, which is why this quote made me laugh out loud.)

Another quote from Sheets, also from Rodgers’s second article at the AJC:

“I feel like myself,” said Sheets, who out-dueled Johan Santana for his first win since July 10, 2010 with the Athletics. “That’s one thing I can say I never felt like in Oakland.”

And here’s a quote from long-time Braves star (and likely Hall of Famer) Chipper Jones:

“We are ecstatic,” Jones said. “We get contributions like that from him, I see us winning a lot of games here in the second half.”

See, the Braves see Sheets as what he is: an ace.  Sheets also is the type of guy who would not have come back unless he felt he could pitch extremely well — it’s either all or nothing with Sheets, and it’s always been that way.  So the Braves, who apparently kept a close eye on Sheets once Sheets’s agent Casey Close started putting out feelers earlier this year regarding a potential comeback, has shown itself to be extremely prescient in signing Sheets.

As far as the Milwaukee Brewers go (Sheets’ old team), they won today, too.  Yovani Gallardo had 14 strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Gallardo is one of two aces on the Brewers current staff; his record raised to 8-6.

But the day belonged to Sheets, all the way along . . . and this Brewers fan couldn’t be happier.  Way to go, Ben!

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