As of Sunday his 1999 record was 10-1, which is more victories than he had earned over his entire career. He has had a couple of short stints on the DL this summer-one for a pulled muscle in his rib cage, the other for a strained tendon in his forearm—but Karsay believes he will be ready to pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason. At week's end, with an ERA of 2.92 and 64 strikeouts in 74 innings, he was one of the best pitchers on a team tied for the best record in the American League, with a league-high streak of 10 straight wins. His mechanics seem better now than ever: the flowing rhythm, the front leg extending, the arm following the leg over the top like two spokes in a stationary wheel. Maybe it's physical maturity or the years of rehabilitative exercise, but the wheel of his delivery is spinning faster.
Most amazing of all, Karsay has added at least 5 mph to his fastball. His doctor takes no credit for that. "It's a miracle," Andrews says.
In a Sunday game in Cleveland against the Cubs this June, Karsay was pitching the eighth inning, with a man on third, one out and the tying run at the plate in the person of Sammy Sosa. Karsay struck Sosa out on four pitches. The second pitch registered 100 mph on the Jacobs Field scoreboard. Karsay was then pulled for a lefthanded reliever, and as he walked off the mound, everyone in the stadium was standing and cheering. His fingers trembled as he tipped his cap, and he felt a chill, as if the nerve endings running up and down his spine were overloaded. He had put in eight years of work since the first breakdown of his elbow. His wife, cheering in the stands, understood as much, and so did Karsay's mother, in tears next to Kori. So too, watching from the shadows of the visitors' dugout, did Kerry Wood.