I admit, I have been eating some crow for the first week of the season. I have been bragging endlessly about my Yankees, only to have them perform lack-luster at best. It pains me and makes me sad, but as I have written earlier, it’s only like, what ten days into the season? I’m not worried yet. However, there have been some other big surprises that have made me take pause and begin to search for some terribly yucky looking crows…
Kansas City Royals: Yeah…so…about those Royals. I made my post-season picks about a month or so ago and they did not make the cut. I figured the Tigers and the Indians were going to be the dominant forces within the AL Central. I’m not alone, though: most media figures and sports journalists also didn’t pick the Royals to contend this year. At the moment, they are the only undefeated team in baseball. Yep. The Royals, who have clearly heard everything the media has been saying, have a mighty big chip on their shoulder. Will they make the post-season after all? I don’t know. You have to remember that the Tigers are a force so far, too, so it’s gonna be a dog fight to the end in this division.
San Francisco Giants: Your 2014 World Champs are currently sucking eggs. Big, fat, massive eggs (by their standards. They’re still not on the level of, say, the Twins). Their defense has been poor, the hitters they have are light hitters (perhaps with the exception of Buster Posey), and the pitching has not been as stellar as it was last year. They seem to be continuing with the trend of winning a World Series and sucking balls the next season. Will they be this bad in July or September? Maybe. They need to find some offense and fast. I’d love nothing more than to watch them squirm toil at the bottom of the division, but they are a better team than that. There is no reason the Diamondbacks and Rockies should be performing much better this season (even though I REALLY REALLY REALLY want the D-Backs to contend. Hell, let’s have the Rockies contend too, just for grins and giggles!).
Miami Marlins: This was one of my wild-card teams and they are playing like they really want to prove me wrong. Their defense have been amazing, with WebGems cracking ESPN’s broadcast almost every night, but the pitching? Oy vey. Case in point: normally solid pitcher Mat Latos has a 17.36 ERA in two starts, in which he has only pitched 4.2 innings COMBINED. Jose Fernandez can’t come back from Tommy John soon enough! The Marlins have the talent everywhere on the roster to turn it around, but they will need more pop from the bats to combat the pitching miscues. This team has ONE homerun this year. Nelson Cruz hit two homeruns in one game the other night. Yikes.
Adrian Gonzalez: Color me kind of surprised! I know Gonzalez is a bomb-diggity player, but his hot start has taken everyone on planet by surprise. In eight games, he sports a .585 batting average, five homeruns, 8 RBI’s, and an OPS of 1.815. Sweet Baby Jesus.
Honorary Mention – Alex Rodriguez: You thought I could make it through a post without mentioning Bae-Rod, didn’t you? Ha! Nope. He has actually been a surprise to everyone, myself included. He may be striking out a lot, but he’s killing it with the RBI’s and is actually making good contact with the ball. His bat speed is good and he is seeing the ball fairly well. He’s atrocious when he’s playing in the field (did anyone else cringe watching him play first base? I was cringing so much I thought my face would freeze that way), so he is really only good for his bat. But, the Yankees need his offense and if he can keep banging out RBI’s, he’ll keep getting playing time. Besides, his walk-up music is “Don’t Stop Believing”, which is greatest thing he has ever done for baseball.
Again, I’ve said this 1,000,000,000 times, it is only ten days into the season and there is no need to assume any of these teams or players are going to continue playing how they’re playing. It’s just too early to determine anything. But, so far, these teams and players have made me take a step back and smile. Baseball is such a funny game, isn’t it?