That's how long it took for me to involuntarily grimace at the Phillies. I made other plans - it happens occasionally - and missed the entirety of the Phillies game, so all the furiously negative energy of the evening's 11-1 loss to the Mets built up and I received it all as one black, piercing pain on my soul and the resulting painful, pulsating lump.
I didn't need a doctor to tell me what had caused it. Mostly because all of the doctors said, "That's probably not what that is from. It sounds like something laid eggs in you."
Already this season, the young stars acquired to keep us from reaching levels of despair not seen since 2015 have begun to fall. Aaron Altherr ducked out with a broken wrist in spring training. Baseballs are slowly nibbling away at Maikel Franco in the batters box. And now, in the midst of a ten-run loss to the freaking Mets, the star on the most fervent rise, Vince Velasquez, looked like he might be hurting as well.
After the 23-year-old's complete game, 16 K performance in his last start, excitement has been humming about him, and we weren't taking "It was just the Padres, who have been shut out at a more rapid pace than any team in history this season" for an answer. Expectations soaring, we watched as Velasquez took the mound against the Mets and, to his credit, only allowed a third of the opposing home runs on the evening with two in 4.1 IP.
But it was tough enough to watch the kid get knocked around without the chiming of theoretical injury alerts.
Was it only me who noticed Vince Velasquez grab his upper arm twice after his final breaking ball to David Wright? Maybe I'm overthinking it— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 20, 2016
Me: "Right before you left the game, you looked like you grabbed your side..."— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 20, 2016
Vince Velasquez: "No, I'm fine."
"It was a little itch," Velasquez told people after the game, saying the action was him stifling a desire to throw his glove at the ground. That's perfectly understandable when formally trusted curve balls are lofted out of the stadium for two and three-run home runs by Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes (Cespedes received three straight breaking balls). It's great news that Velasquez is fine, but this is usually the part where we find out that actually, he has worms and will miss a few days, and then in August we all wonder just what the hell happened to that dominant young hurler we got from the Ken Giles trade?
No. No. Got to stay positive. For instance, Maikel Franco was able to uncork a home run of his own!
Told Maikel Franco looked upset, Juan Lagares grinned. "Probably," he said. https://t.co/EX32sAGbEf #Mets pic.twitter.com/3HefjVSrJP— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 20, 2016
It's only mid-April, and I don't have to tell you that this will not be the last time the Phillies get shelled. It's probably not the last time they'll get shelled by the Mets. It's definitely not the last time a buzzing young player will have a bad start, and it's without a doubt not the last time we will be climbing over each other to see if that same young player is okay health-wise.
Especially since so many of them are not. Jorge Alfaro's hot start in Reading culminated with an appearance in the most recent Monday Gush, after his 3-for-4 performance against the Harrisburg Senators with a triple and four RBI - his seventh consecutive multi-hit game. It was reported last night that the catching prospect strained his oblique and has been placed on the disabled list. Jim Salisbury considers actual recovery time somewhere in the thirty-day range.
It's times like these that a rebuilding season becomes tough to hang onto. You may feel the temptation to leave, and do other things. That's probably healthy. But know that soon, we'll be reminded that pitchers have bad outings, obliques heal with time, and Juan Lagares can't catch every Maikel Franco bomb.
"Yeah but what about the long term ramifications of--"
[I put a single finger on your lips]
Shhhhh... shhhhhhhh. It may be whatever is growing inside me entering its larval stage talking, but there's no reason to think that far into the future.