The Team Hurdles
Schumaker has managed his team brilliantly, overcoming down seasons from reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, and injuries to key players like Jazz Chisholm, Trevor Rodgers, Max Mayer, and others.
Last season, Alcantara was one of baseball's most dominant pitching weapons last season. He was also the sport's most significant workhorse by a wide margin, pitching an incredible 20+ innings more than the field. The Fins' ace also led baseball in complete games (6) while posting a stellar 2.28 ERA, 14 wins, and 207 strikeouts on his way to his first Cy Young award. He also entered the 2023 season as a favorite to repeat.
Unfortunately, Alcantara has suffered significant regression this season. While he has still been a major innings eater, his efficiency has dropped off considerably. So far, he has posted a pedestrian 4.28 ERA and a 4-10 win-loss record. Alcantara showed off his old potential today however, with a brilliant complete-game gem, giving up only 1 run and striking out 10 to bring his ERA down to 4.09.
To make matters worse, Rogers, an All-Star pitcher in 2021, has pitched just 18 innings this season (due to a right lat strain). Chisholm on the other hand, a 2022 All-Star, and the team's most dangerous offensive weapon, has been held to just 53 games played due to various injuries.
There are plenty of excuses for a sub-par performance. Yet, Schmaker has his young club playing like true contenders.