On my fantasy team I have Adrian Gonzalez, BOS as my primary first baseman and Ian Kinsler, TEX at second. I drafted them both early, really early, and they are absolutely KILLING ME. Kinsler started off decent in his first few games but has been atrocious since. Gonzalez, well I think he just never got started (and yet has somehow been declining). There are guys in the free agency who are playing way better than these 2 and could be earning me way more points. I know it’s still early but it’s not that early. So my question is this – At what point do I give up on these guys?
A baseball season is a funny thing. In other sports like football a couple games can make or break your season. You can have a run of luck – good or bad – and that will determine if you schedule playoffs or tee times. But in baseball you can start slow, struggle, slump – and still manage to come out on top. Why? Because the season consists of 162 games and winning 90 or so of those is usually enough. Baseball is more about endurance and consistency. Luck might win a game or 2, but it won’t win a season. So what can the first dozen or so games really say about a team’s or player’s ability? Unfortunately…not much. You have to wait it out a bit longer to see.
Baseball can often get started uncharacteristically. Great teams will lose and terrible teams will win. Gazillion dollar sluggers will go 0-for and gold glovers will make errors. Guys you’ve never heard of before will clobber the ball and show up on web gems. The first couple weeks is always fun, watching the oddities unfold and slowly shape into more realistic outcomes. But sometimes these unusual situations linger, making you wonder if it’s a fluke start or if a particular team or player is going to maintain this level of play.
Look at Boston. Before Opening day – many had picked them to go to the world series this year – some even to win it. Yet they have been creeping around in baseball’s cellar from day one. Their starting pitching is miserable. They score runs – more than 4 per game on average, they just keep offering up meatballs at the dish and letting the other team score more. And there isn’t much sign of improvement. (Which keeps me wondering how Gonzalez is going to heat up with no real sparks around him)
How about those Royals? They tore out of the gate and have been playing their hearts out and are currently 5 games over .500. Sitting just above them atop the AL Central is – the Indians? And they’re doing it without 2 of their best guys!
The best team in all of baseball right now isn’t as much of a surprise – it’s the Colorado Rockies. We knew they’d be good, but they’re rolling like a well oiled machine. Troy Tulowitzki is ridiculous right now, and with 7 home runs already he’s on pace to hit 75! DAANNMMM! I’m curious to see how long they can stay afloat up there in the #1 spot!
Now – about my Cardinals. Sheesh. We struggled at first but just finished up a 10 game road trip where we went 6-4, which is pretty good. But it could have been much better if we hadn’t blown 3 saves (4 total on the season). All of them came from the arm of the now former closer, Ryan Franklin. YIKES. Honestly – I feel sorry for the guy. Am I frustrated? Hell yeah! I doubt there are too many people in the Cardinal’s family – immediate or extended – who aren’t, including Franklin himself. But he’s human. Baseball is his job. It’s not like he goes to the mound and says “Eh, I’m not feelin it today, I’ll just lob them in there for now.” He’s struggling. He’s frustrated. He’s thinking too much, trying too hard. We’ve all been there. No matter what job you’re in you have days or weeks where you just can’t seem to get things right. And the harder it is, the harder it gets. I’m thrilled we’re not going to use him for saves right now – partly for the sake of the team and actually winning games when we’re up, but also so Franklin can feel a load of pressure off his shoulders while he works out whatever isn’t working. And when he gets his groove back, I’ll be glad to see him in the 9th again. One thing I can tell you though – is that when you’re having a hard time, being crucified for it by thousands of people certainly isn’t helping. He’s off to a slow start, but I’m betting he’ll be back. (On a better note – the Cardinals rank first in the National League in batting average (.298), hits (164) and runs scored (87). So that can give us something to smile about!)
So as we look around the league in this, the 3rd week of baseball – which teams/players are showing their true colors and which teams still have to morph back into themselves? Who is playing on a sustainable level and who is yet to bounce back to reality? How much more time do I wait on Kinsler and Gonzalez to start hitting like I know they can, when there are more stable guys available to take their place?
Give me your feedback, baseball fans!