Wednesday, April 19, 2006

There was nothing about last night's game that wasn't awful.

Well, except for the offense. And the middle infielders -- both Cabrera and Kennedy had good games with bat and leather.

Ervin Santana's line -- three earned runs allowed in five-and-to-thirds -- makes his day look better than it was. What we saw was a vintage John Lackey start; we had four good innings surrounding a second inning meltdown, leading to him being at the end of the line in the sixth. I know Ztu's error means those four second-innings are unearned, but you can really only blame one run on that error, I think. Well, maybe two. But Magic walked two guys all by his lonesome, and then had some bad luck on a chopper infield single that would have been a groundout in any legitimate baseball park. But, as I pointed out yesterday, Santana had a supernaturally low .105 batting average allowed on balls in play coming into the game, and the mean had to come bite him in the ass some time.

Meanwhile, we're down to one completely dependable reliever in Scot Shields, and if Brendan Donnelly and Frankie K. can't get things turned around, that just means Ol' Mike'll have to go to Scottie more and more, meaning his arm'll be toast by mid-August.

To add to the fun, Bartolo Colon is on the DL, and Hector Carrasco is taking his spot in the rotation. We'll see how that works out; I'm highly skeptical about his abilities as a starter, but in a spot situation he may do okay. But part of me hopes he gets blown away and precipitates the Jered Weaver Era.

Okay, I'm mostly just upset over a disgusting loss. Nothing that's happend makes me change my tune about our team this season, as nothing that's happened is anything that would have been impossible before the season began. I suspect our defense will fill its leaks over time. I believe the starting rotation, unless injuries ravage it, will be productive. And the offense will be what it will be, a serviceable collection of Vladi and the Pussycats.

The one thing that worries me is the bullpen. I did expect some regression, but right now the only 100% reliable guy is Scot Shields -- who, of course, lost a game in Baltimore. But even the most reliable moundsman will lose a game here and then, especially when just about every game they pitch is a close game. But Donnelly's reliability is questionable, Romero is good in his constraints (vs. lefties), and Frankie looks a mess. Blow-Rod has allowed at least one run in all but one of his six appearances this year. He did come into today's game with a 5:1 SO:BB ratio, hinting that maybe he was putting things together, but he walked two in tonight's disaster, and walked in the tying run with a crazy 3-2 slider.

I guess that if he'd gotten the game-winning K on that slider, I'd be saluting his courage, but there's a fine line between courage and delusion. I've defended him in the past, and we've seen him have bad stretches before and come out strong, but right now he's not to be trusted with any spheroids in his hand.

Aside from all that, I think we look great.

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