With almost 40 percent of the 2007 season in the books, there are two starters struggling to find their 2006 form. Are they hurt? We'll also look into a top American League preseason Cy Young Award candidate who is struggling and the key injuries this week.
Bronson Arroyo (RHP, CIN)
Last season, Arroyo led the National League in both innings pitched (240 2/3) and pitches (3,852) thrown. Both were career highs. Arroyo is not accustomed to working more than 200 innings in a season. He didn't falter in the second half of the 2006 season, but Arroyo was near the top of my list this spring as a pitcher who would develop an injury or burnout from the heavy workload. Although he pitched well in April, as we can see by his 2.86 ERA and opposing hitter batting average of .240, he has struggled since. His May ERA was 6.45, and opposing batters hit .306 against.
Several veteran Cincinnati observers indicate Arroyo has lost a little on his fastball and his trademark slider the past six weeks or so. This could be a good indication he has lost some arm strength, but I'm not prepared to declare that he has some sort of shoulder or elbow injury yet. Although it can be argued Arroyo pitched over his head last season, the drop-off in his performance should not have been this dramatic. It's possible Arroyo can turn it around; if his shoulder is weaker this season than last season, his struggles will continue