Every so often, I'm going to write a column that's just a collaboration of some random thoughts, notes and assessments of what is going on in the Majors.
I might write one every day. I might write one every week. Or I might write one just every April 8. Anyway, this is a good opportunity for you, the fan, to get involved, as I'll try to post and respond to any e-mails and comments you might have.
1. The Tigers are bad.
Not 0-6 bad, but certainly worse than anyone imagined.
Yes, the team has been nicked up worse than the bicyclist from "European Vacation," with Curtis Granderson, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, Placido Polanco, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney all having missed some time.
And surely, no rational person would dare declare the season over after six measly games. But ... who ever said I was rational? Not even the plot from "21" was this disappointing.
What's even more annoying is that since I'm the only one from my circle of Detroit friends who works in the baseball industry (if you want to call it that, which you do), I'm the de-facto baseball expert and get flooded with phone calls, e-mails and texts asking me "What's wrong with the Tigers?" or "Are we ever gonna hit?" or my personal favorite, "Can we bring Chet Lemon and Rob Deer out of retirement?" As if writing two columns a week filled with gratuitous "Saved By The Bell" and "Fletch" references makes me some type of Bill Jamesian guru.
This season has been beyond disheartening, and if it weren't for Clete Thomas (who?) being the early front-runner for American League Rookie of the Year and a mortal lock to appear in the next Namism column, I'd be bed-ridden like Cameron Frye in the first 24 minutes of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
2. Kosuke Fukudome is good.
Like, really good. Like, he's-going-20-20-this-year good.
I've really been impressed with his power-speed combo (.708 SLG, 2 SB), and I especially love his Ichiro-esque (Ichiroic?) running swing, where he's already flying toward first base with bat in hand during his follow-through.
It makes me wonder about the Japanese training methods as a whole. How did they come up with this ingenous idea? Is there some Japanese equivalent to "Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills Video" starring Fred McGriff (who apparently has been on the 1988 Blue Jays for the last 20 years) with some old Japanese Pacific League legend teaching the method behind this madness?
I'm almost too afraid to google this, as I'm almost positive I'll find, "Sayonara Baby: Orestes Destrade's Running While Swinging Home Video".
3. The Dodgers' benching of Matt Kemp in favor of Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier and Andruw Jones is confusing.
For some reason, everyone leaves Jones off this list, giving him the respect of an unquestioned starter, as if he didn't hit .222 last season in a contract year for the Braves.
Frankly, Kemp should be starting ahead of all these guys. The guy hit .342 last year with 10 homers, 42 RBIs and 10 steals in just 292 at-bats. It's ridiculous that he starts off this season in a mini slump (2-for-16), and just like that becomes a societal afterthought like Balki Bartokomous and Ace of Base.
Fantasy owners have to stick with Kemp, who's too talented to continue riding the pine. I have to think that it's only a matter of time before Pierre (1-for-15) and his huge contract (5-year, $44 million -- wow) are out of the everyday mix.
4. Speaking of Pierre, what's up with the faux French-Canadian contingent this season?
In addition to Pierre's well-documented struggles, Jacque Jones (3-for-14, 1 RBI), Ryan Theriot (5-for-25, 1 RBI), Felix Pie (3-for-16, 0 RBIs) and Mike Fontenot (1 GS) have all been dreadful so far.
For the love of croque monsieurs, what's going on here? Is this some bizarre act of defiance against French President Nicholas Sarkozy's controversial and rushed marriage to ex-model Carla Bruni?
5. Unleash the O's!
Who saw this coming? One of the things that I was most excited about heading into this season was the race to 130 losses between the Orioles and Giants.
The 2003 Bobby Higginson Detroit Tigers notwithstanding, I honestly had never seen two offenses with such little firepower. All you need to know about the Giants' offense is that it has a Molina brother hitting cleanup. My love for anything Molina related has been discussed ad nauseam, but come on. I mean, even if you combined the stats of all the Molina brothers (Bengie, Yadier, Jose) into one super-Molina (Josadengie? Bendosier?), he still wouldn't come close to offering the stats of an average cleanup hitter.
As for the 5-1 Orioles, sure, they have an emerging superstar in Nick Markakis and a reliable veteran in Brian Roberts. But excluding those two, the O's have below-average players starting at every single position.
They clearly won't maintain this winning pace, or even finish .500 for that matter, but I can see the O's being somewhat relevant this year. They have some exciting young hitters in Markakis (23 HR, 112 RBIs in '07), Luke Scott (8-for-16 in '08) and Adam Jones. They also have a solid bullpen led by Jamie Walker (3 IP, 0 ER in '08), Chad Bradford (2 2/3 IP, 0 ER in '08) and closer George Sherrill (4-for-4 in SVO in '08) to complement a rotation anchored by Jeremy Guthrie (5.11 ERA in '08 ... oh wait ... ehhh, who cares, he's The Guth!).
6. Rich Harden isn't in store for a monster season because he is already hurt, will miss his next start, is probably headed to the DL and is already a sleeper pick for 2009.
Anyway, that's all for now. If you have any questions or comments about pretty much anything, please send them here, and if they're good or relevant, I'll post them with a response. And get ready for Thursday's debut edition of Wiretap, where I'll be giving completely irrelevant and unfounded advice all season long.