Sep 29, 2009, 1:26 PM EST
Last night Peter Moylan set a Braves record by appearing in his 85th game, which is pretty remarkable for a guy who missed nearly all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery and was no sure thing to be healthy by Opening Day.
In fact, even after making the team out of spring training Moylan struggled in his first two outings, allowing five runs without recording an out. Atlanta stuck with him and since then he’s 6-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 71 innings while limiting opponents to a .235 batting average.
Moylan’s average fastball is down about two miles per hour compared to his pre-surgery norms, but his slider remains just as sharp and the side-arming right-hander continues to induce a ton of ground balls. He has the third-highest ground-ball rate among all pitchers with 50 or more innings at 62.8 percent and has yet to allow a homer in 300 plate appearances. Toss in 60 strikeouts in 71 innings and he’s basically a perfect setup man.
Moylan was ridden extremely hard in 2007, logging 90 innings in 80 appearances, and that workload likely led to his needing to go under the knife. This season’s workload isn’t quite as heavy, but pitching 85 times in 156 games has still put an awful lot of stress on his surgically repaired elbow. On the other hand he’s already 30 years old despite this being just his second full season in the majors, so riding Moylan until the wheels fall off makes some sense.
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