Hope is Not a Strategy
by, 05-07-2012 at 01:24 PM (756 Views)
So, how's my opening day wish list doing? About as well as yours, I expect.
But, since I don't have yours, I'm going to review mine.
So here are the 'original' wishes/hopes/dreams/fantasies - with comments after one month of harsh reality.
1) Mauer plays well and stays healthy and is in serious contention for a batting title and even MVP consideration.
Well, Joe's been healthy, at least. Even with the foul tip to the knee, he's amassed more plate appearances than everyone else except Span and Carroll - not coincidentally, the two guys who hit ahead of him in the lineup almost every day. He's performed steadily, if unspectacularly - sort of a Mauer trademark. But, no one is going to be seriously touting him for MVP at this point, and while he's eligible for the batting title (thanks to the aforementioned health) he's not in danger of topping the league leaders. A serious streak or two will be necessary to get him into contention. Grade: eh.
2) Dan Barriero is publicly ridiculed and forced to apologize to Joe for constantly bitching about him and mocking his 'commitment'. Maybe a 'Dunk Dan' tank is added at Target Field. I'd pony up $5 for three balls.
I'm making my first trip to Target Field this Thursday. I'll look for the dunk tank - but I'm not holding my breath. Grade: I wish.
3) Morneau stays off the DL for the entire season and has no concussion symptom recurrence. (I said these are 'hopes' right?)
Well this one's shot - mostly. He's riding the DL horse right now (or is that an exercise bike). And the only (small) consolation is that it has nothing to do with concussion symptoms. But wrists are pretty valuable to hitters. If this doesn't heal right, he might be looking at extended time away and limited production when he returns. Not much difference, really. Grade: sigh.
4) Liam Hendriks sticks in the starting rotation and draws (legitimate) comparisons to a young Brad Radke.
So, giving up homers was not the Brad Radke comparison I had in mind. Apart from a couple of mediocre starts at the beginning of the season, Liam has been pretty Lame. And now back in AAA. I'd guess we'll see him again, but the bloom is off the rose. Grade: fail.
5) One of the 'new kids' (Plouffe, Parmelee, Dozier, Benson, etc.) plays above expectations and generates some energy around the next wave of call-ups.
So far, so futile. None of the young-uns who started the season with the big club have done anything to uphold even moderate expectations - at least, not yet. Benson just got demoted, so he's receding from the picture at the moment. Here comes Dozier. Let's see what happens. Grade: don't hold your breath.
6) Willingham makes me happy about as often as Cuddyer did - and makes me frustrated less by not chasing low and away breaking balls for strike three.
Score. Willingham has been as good or better than everyone expected at the plate. Better yet, his strikeouts mostly come from missing good pitches, not getting fooled on out of the zone hacks. We weren't expecting great defense and he hasn't disappointed us there, either. Grade: even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile (see earlier post).
7) The Tigers' defense is more offensive than their offense. I look forward to many costly errors by Cabrera in games against the Twins.
Both the Tigers' offense and defense are roughly middle of the pack. Cabrera has a few errors, but Fielder has actually been a little better than average. Delmon's defense and his mouth have both been offensive. Grade: push. One of these two facets will likely deviate from current trends. Or not.
8) Leyland's classic overuse of starting pitchers comes home to roost this year. (I'm not hoping for injuries, just diminished performance due to overuse.)
Scherzer and Porcello are underperforming expectations. Hard to say that's due to overuse at this point. More data is needed. Verlander appears strong. And Smyly is young enough that overuse isn't much of a consideration at this point in his career. Grade: waiting; not that it matters at this point.
9) The White Sox lose 100 games.
Still possible. They're only 5 losses behind the Twins. Grade: hope is still alive.
10) Twins are leading by one going into the 9th - and I'm not dreading to see who's warming up.
A lead? Going into the ninth inning? What's that? I'm not really dreading to see who's warming up, anyway. Mostly because I'm fairly certain the Twins will lose the next couple of games even if they hold onto this one. Grade: defensive indifference.
I hope I have to make time to watch meaningful games (involving the Twins) in September and October.
Grade: looks like I'll have plenty of time to rake leaves.