Rough weekend. Sounds like being on the road so long wore out our young millionaires, but at least it gave the ESPN crew another talking point. Back to back national telecasts on ESPN, who are surely glad to televise a Strasburg start against a quality opponent. As discouraging as four straight losses were to this fan, first let me step back and see where we are:
Record: 15-9, best in the NL and third best in MLB.
Lead: 2-1/2 over the Nats, who are 4-6 in their last ten.
This without Heyward, McCann, Venters, and Beachy. This with typical slumps from Uggla and BJ, and hardly any production from the top two spots in the order. Even the White Bear is starting to struggle. Friday night Tomahawk Talk followers made light of all the strikeouts, and for fun I took the opposite opinion. Received some support for my stand. Any fan who is surprised by the high strikeout totals hasn't been paying attention the past four months.
As a former opposite-field singles hitter, this post-steroid-but-still-swing-for-the-fences/damn-the-strikeouts era in baseball is frustrating and perplexing to me. If Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and his AL Champion teammates can cut down on their swings and go oppo, and the Giants and Cardinals, winners of the last three World Series, can do the same, why don't others follow suit? What happened to Moneyball and Sabermetrics and OBP? I just don't understand how a player can think he can be successful striking out so much. I guess they see similar players get awarded, so they follow suit.
Why should BJ Upton change, after the Braves gave him a huge contract? We knew what we were getting into with BJ. He was the most attractive centerfielder available at the time, after Span was traded to the Nats. Without BJ (and since we didn't trade for Span), it's less likely Wren would've been able to complete the trade with the Diamondbacks. Right now Justin Upton and Chris Johnson are the team's best hitters. Both are willing to hit to right field. So will Gattis, but right now I'm thinking Gattis will play less as McCann eases back into his catching position. Then we'll know even more about Gattis, and whether he will stay in the bigs all summer. He could play every day at Gwinnett, then return for the stretch run.
This weekend I read that judging a team four weeks into the season is like judging a date after picking her up at her door. We're not 15% of the way into the season. I really don't want to be the sounding gong, repeating myself over and over. If it's any consolation, this weekend the Tigers did hit plenty of fly balls that our outfielders did catch.
Better to talk about more important things. Saturday both teams looked swell in their Negro League uniforms. Uni-Watch thought they were flannel, as opposed to knock-offs. See here and here