Jottings. And Panic?

April 14, 2011 at 11:21 pm 2 comments

Hey everyone, guess what time it is! It’s time for…

Joe Mauer’s early season mystery injury!!

The aftermath of this slide oughta keep me out 5-7 games at least three times this year.

Looking back, there’s been:

The stress fracture! Some people claimed at the time that a stress fracture isn’t even possible.

The quad pull! An injury I’ve never seen come from anyone else’s quad.

The heel bruise! Seriously! Sprain an ankle, pull a hammy, something that other players can relate to!

And now Bilateral leg weakness!!

Seriously, Joe Mauer would never have to deal with skepticism over his durability if he actually managed to HAVE REAL INJURIES, and not ones that need to be scrupulously diagnosed by a misanthropic TV doctor.

Ive got it! All the Head & Shoulders he uses causes him to become a demon serial murderer every few months! Good thing this unrelated argument with Wilson has allowed me to see the truth.

In other news, our hometown team has gotten off to an awful start. A 4-8 record and a team slugging percentage under .300. Every player not named Kubel and Span has not stumbled out of the gates, but suffered a collective stroke while standing at the gates, and fallen on their collective faces in a pile of drool and shame.

In Spring Training, it was speculated that Alexi Casilla needed a good start to the season to get a good hold of his shortstop job. But can you really hate on the guy for batting .160 when what he’s been doing has been pretty standard throughout the lineup?

To be fair, most of the guys have gotten their batting averages over .200, which seemed like a novel goal a week ago. But as far as home runs are concerned, we have Valencia, Thome and Span with one apiece. That’s it. Did all the ‘adjusting to Target Field so we’re not going to hit home runs’ talk go to everyone’s head?*

*I do like that Morneau has five doubles, however. His results aren’t there, but his performance is above the threshold where we could say his head injury is causing him problems.

But the offense won’t suck forever. Young and Cuddyer are flawed hitters, but they’re going to OPS at least .780 between them. Not .500. Casilla might be bad, but he’s not OPS .368 bad.

It could be worse, in other words. Span seems to have solved his mechanical problems, and Kubel is avoiding his early season mailaise from years past. Carl Pavano has rebounded very nicely from his opening day massacre. Blackburn has been solid, Duensing hasn’t provided much to be worried about, and Baker hasn’t imploded (Though he hasn’t exactly been encouraging). Liriano is the one to be concerned with. Walking guys like crazy, then trying to not walk guys and getting lit up by Kansas City. It will be interesting, and perhaps pivotal, to see what he does in his next trip.

The bullpen has been pretty decent (Despite managing to blow two saves in one game today), considering it was supposed to be the glaring weak spot on the team. Everyone knows signing Dusty Hughes was dumb, but when he’s non tendered in a few weeks maybe we’ll get to see what Jim Hoey can do.

Now, looking around the league, there are some interesting tidbits to be found:

Well at least the fact that Im always injured hides that fact that I dont have any plate discipline and generate most of my power from playing in extreme hitters parks.

- Josh Hamilton and J.J. Hardy are fragile and should be handled with care. If I were the Rangers, I’d put Hamilton on the 60 DL, and activate him in September. Does past drug abuse contribute to having easily broken bones and easily pulled muscles? Probably not. But he is going to continue to get hurt, I will say that. My theory, not that anyone cares, is that players who get injured a lot are just worse at falling down than other players. Cal Ripken was really good at falling down. J.D. Drew probably isn’t. Jeff Francouer and Melky Cabrera are both really bad Royals players, and probably haven’t done their teams much of a service by being good at falling down and never getting hurt. Bob Sanders of the Indianapolis Colts is terrible at falling down. The man can’t avoid breaking something if you leave him unsupervised for ten minutes.

They say guys who get hurt just play harder than everyone else, they take more risks. I guess that’s probably true with Carlos Gomez. He puts his body in danger like he’s forgotten what gravity is. I seriously worry about him, sometimes. But I’m pretty sure most players play the game hard look at Francouer. Everyone in the game says no one plays harder. And he’s never on the DL. David Wright supposedly plays really hard; he’s rarely hurt.

You know that little kid back in elementary school who wanted to be a stunt man when he grew up? He would jump around doing crazy shit and would never get hurt? That kid grows up to be Randy Johnson, Orlando Cabrera, Jon Garland (Actually Jonny’s finally on the DL this year), Ichiro, Adam Dunn. The kid who’s constantly on crutches from falling off his bed, or landing awkwardly playing hop scotch? He grows up to be Howie Kendrick, or Larry Walker, or Marcus Giles, Chase Utley, Rafael Furcal, Aramis Ramirez.

Freak injuries do happen. A pitcher is going to burn his finger grilling steak this year and miss two starts. But if Howie Kendrick and O-Cab collide and both end up on the ground, I bet you 9 times out of 10, O-Cab wins.

Ya know its true.

The most interesting thing going on so far has been the 10-2 Rockies, and more specifically, Troy Tulowitzki. He’s slugging .909 so far with seven home runs, pretty much carrying the entire offense, similar to his performance last September. At this point, is there a more valuable player in the game? The man hits like a superstar first baseman while playing legitimately gold glove defense at shortstop. Although I’m kind of on the fence about his falling ability…

The Rays and the Red Sox are not playing good ball, but I like the Sox chances to rebound a lot better. They have depth at every position except catcher, and like the Twins, have pretty much every hitter starting out cold. When you have Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and J.D. Drew in your lineup on a daily basis, eventually the runs will come. If they, by some crazy circumstance, don’t come, at least you have Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and John Lackey to pick up the slack. And then Jon Papelbon, Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks for an extra layer of security.

If you’re the Rays, you have good starting pitching, but after that you’re looking at a lot of reliance on B.J Upton and Ben Zobrist to play to the potential they showed in one of their seasons, and Evan Longoria to handle everything else. John Jaso is good when he doesn’t have to be good. Same goes for Dan Johnson and Reid Brignac. Scoring runs is going to be a problem, and Desmond Jennings isn’t going to make it go away. And having Joel Peralta and Kyle Farnsworth holding down the fort isn’t a great idea, either. Jake McGee is a shiny alternative, but if you saw him try to throw breaking balls to Kubel and Valencia today, you’ll agree he’s not a shutdown closer yet.

Wait a minute. Thats Vernon Wells, not zombie Duke Snider... That Greek bastard lied to me.

A few things are going as expected. Namely that the Phillies won’t give up a lot of runs, and that the Rangers have a really deep offense. As far as surprises, I’d say the Orioles are a little better than what they’re given credit for. As I write this they have lost four in a row, but with Zach Britton looking like a potential phenom, and Brian Matusz on the mend, all of a sudden their offseason pickups of Guerrero, Reynolds, Lee and Hardy don’t look so frivolous and prospect blocking. I mean, offensively, where are their holes? Adam Jones still has potential, Markakis = Paul O’Neil?, Brian Roberts can still play, and Wieters might just bust out. Oh, and Luke Scott can OPS .900 without anyone noticing. Who the hell knows?

I also like the Blue Jays. Not much defense, but a powerful offense once their middle of the order guys (Lind, Hill, Encarnacion) start heating up. Yes, I am a Jose Bautista believer. And they have some pitching depth, as well. Not to mention payroll flexibility that was apprehended right out of Tony Reagins’ pocket.

Basically the whole AL East is worth watching, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays were the ones to finish 5th.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

AL Central Evaluations Something Encouraging?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nick N.  |  April 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “His results aren’t there, but his performance is above the threshold where we could say his head injury is causing him problems.”

    Is his performance sufficiently weak that we can at least theorize that he might be rusty, or is that still a completely ridiculous notion?

    Reply
  • 2. Officer Blog  |  April 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I deserved that. But yeah, that’s probably how I’d phrase it, rusty as an El Camino that was left in a swimming pool all winter.

    Reply

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