Every now and then we stumble across a player at the end of his line, ending his career in the former-wasteland that is DC Baseball. And even rarer is when we can find a player that returns to his former stomping ground to finish his career. Today's edition of Former Nats Great started his career way back in 1994 with those crazy Expos in Montreal. You could've fooled me that this player was able to play 10 seasons in MLB, but he did.
Today's Former Nats Great belongs to cult-hero and LOOGY Joey Eischen!
The danger of being a LOOGY is that you usually just get one chance in a ballgame. You are out of the game after your batter regardless of success or failure. Here, in the twilight of his career, Eischen had much more of the failure than anything else - and as usual, the decline was helped along by injury.
In his first month in DC, Eischen was an integral to the overachieving 2005-edition of the Nationals. He had just 15 appearances, though, before things started going downhill. On May 1st, 2005 Eischen went diving for a ball and broke his arm - shelving him on the DL for several months of rehab time. And by the time he came back in July, the Nats luck had started to change and Eischen fit right in. In just his third appearance back from the DL, he went on an epic streak.
July 6 - 0.0 IP. 1 H.
July 8 - 0.0 IP. 2 H.
July 10 - 0.0 IP. 1 BB.
July 14 - 0.0 IP. 1 BB.
July 17 - 0.0 IP. ROE.
Five straight appearances without retiring a single batter. Ouch.
The rest of the season wasn't that bad, but it wasn't great either. He was able to finish the year with some decent stats.
3.22 ERA. 3.79 FIP. 1.46 WHIP. 6 SD. 6 MD. 0.2 WAR.
But, as is the case with many of these players, the worse was still to come.
His first five games of 2006 served as a horrible harbinger of rough seas ahead.
April 3 - 0.1 IP. Nothing.
April 6 - 1.1 IP. 2 H. 3 R. 3 ER. 3 K. 3 BB.
April 9 - 1.0 IP. 2 H. 2 R. 2 ER. 2 K. 2 BB.
April 11 - 1.0 IP. Nothing
April 13 - 1.0 IP. 5 H. 5 R. 5 ER. 2 K. 2 BB.
That's 10 ER in 4.2 IP if you are scoring at home.
His season improved substantially until he experienced shoulder discomfort when pitching on May 29th. He would go on the DL, never to appear in the big leagues again.
His 2006 Numbers - 22 Games. 8.59 ERA. 6.56 FIP. 2.52 WHIP. 0 SD. 5 MD. -0.3 WAR.
When he first came to DC, he became a folk hero for telling O's Owner Peter Angelos to "suck on it and like it". But he left a broken man, only to be rejoiced by Capitol Baseball 5 years later.
Congrats to you, Joey Eischen. Thanks for always making us laugh.