Knees, Jerks & Reactions

We are only a week into a six-month season, so it’s far too
early for any rational baseball fan to start making judgements based on what
has happened so far.

On the other hand, I have never met a rational sports fan
and am certainly no exception, so here goes:


Boston won’t get to the World Series

An 0-4 start has exposed their
starting rotation as relying too much on youngsters Lester and Buchholz, in the
presence of the newly-rotund Josh Beckett and the hilariously over-rated John
Lackey, who has always been more guts than stuff. $33m a year for those two is
a millstone, and while the lineup looks stacked, JD Drew’s knees have gone and
his will to win was never there, while Jacoby Ellsbury is showing no sign of
returning to the form of two years ago that made him the spark plug of a
leadoff man the Sox so badly need.

·
Having a great team hasn’t made Philly fans
classy

Starting pitcher Cole Hamels was
MVP of the World Series in 08, had a great season last year and is a hugely
competitive man who loves pitching for the Phillies. Last night against the
Mets he stunk it up because he flat out couldn’t find the strike zone – a
continuation of the control problems he had in Spring Training. But when a very
audible minority of Philly fans booed him off the field, it showed a total lack
of class and respect. You think he finds that response motivating? Or that he
didn’t know he pitched poorly? Grow up, people.

·
Tampa Bay could finish bottom of the AL East

David Price is an incredible
pitcher. Movement, pace, presence – he’s got everything. Evan Longoria may be
the best third baseman in the league. Unfortunately Price had a rough first
start and only gets to pitch every five days anyway, Longoria is on the DL, and
they’re batting .132 as a team. And what on earth possessed the Rays to think
that Manny Ramirez’ power – last seen consistently in 2008, would magically
reappear as he turns 39 years old? Tampa has 12 draft picks in the first two
rounds this June however – I smell a rebuilding season coming on…

·
Cincinnati will win the NL Central

As far as I can see, they’re the
only legit team in that whole division. The Cards would challenge them with
Adam Wainwright, but with him out for the whole season their pitching won’t be
as dominant as it needs to be to compensate for having a lineup far inferior to
that of the Reds. And that’s even assuming Albert Pujols has a great season.
Early evidence has scouts calling his approach at the plate “anxious”. The
Brewers could compete, if Corey Hart and Zack Greinke come back within a month
and play to form, but don’t count on it.

Of course, this column should and
probably will turn out to be completely wrong by season’s end, because so far
nothing in this season has made sense.

I mean, did YOU pick Kansas City,
Baltimore and the Mets to be leading their divisions at any point in the
season?

Didn’t think so.

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