There are certain aspects of the baseball season that feel like a relationship. Opening Day is like a first date; you're excited, there are endless possibilities, and invariably you read too much into the fact that she didn't laugh at your grizzly bear joke (or that your DH will never, ever get a hit). In that way, Thursday's game was like year three of marriage -- or at least what this single guy imagines it to be -- you know, after the honeymoon period, nothing is new, and one morning you wake up to find your wife, 20 pounds heavier, wearing those hideous flannel pajamas, taking a dump with the bathroom door open, and bleating for you to grab her some more toilet paper from the guest bathroom.
Yeah, Thursday was a lot like that.
The magic of Opening Day is long in the rear view mirror. I was feeling unmotivated today, so unmotivated the thought of cracking open a box of Mac and Cheese or making a sandwich seemed like too much effort. I wasn't going to cook myself dinner -- and yes, I cook, ALL THE TIME, which is probably why I was too unmotivated to even boil a hot dog -- so I called up a friend who suggested our favorite little Mexican dive. None of this is important, except said dive has only one TV that's always tuned to something in Spanish. I would miss at least the first hour of the game. "Freddy's pitching," I thought, "Yeah. Let's go."
Just over a week ago, I was skipping class to make sure I could watch games, and now I couldn't even bother to fit it into my dinner routine.
So, yeah, I didn't see a single pitch by Freddy Garcia. And I didn't miss anything. At least Jake Peavy won't have to worry about his fastball being slower than Freddy's anymore; Freddy couldn't crack 90 and sat at 87 MPH according to Gameday.
I'm not going to comment on his repertoire, or give any other observations because I didn't see it, but I'd like to ask a bit of a rhetorical question: How long of a leash does Freddy get? I'm not suggesting Daniel Hudson should start game 15, but I think we'll all concede that Hudson is going to supplant Freddy (or, Q! forbid, some other injured starter) at some point during the season. So how many bad starts from Freddy does it take? How low do the radar readings need to go?
Listening to the CSN post-game show, as they were heaping well-deserved praise towards the non-RAAAAAAAANDY bullpen, they openly wondered who would be the long man? Who would fill D.J. Carrasco's shoes? I had to laugh... for a couple of reasons.
- With 4 starters projected to get near-200 innings, it's rare that you'd need a long man any more than once every two weeks.
- The D.J. Carrasco clone is on the staff right now. Hint: He started the game.
And Randy Williams happens to be opening a spot in the back end of the bullpen right now, though Ozzie probably figures to turn to Eric Threets as he can't be without two lefties in his pen.
The non-Williams part of the Sox pen has been amazing in the first 10 games -- even Scott Linebrink has been un-Linebrinkian. Sure, they took a few losses there in the first trip through the rotation, but that's gonna happen when you can't score any runs. I think their dominance in Freddy's absence is what really prompted the post-game mop-up man talk. I know I caught myself thinking that Sergio Santos' 1-2-3, three strikeout outing was wasted on a blowout (and that was followed by 6 more strikeouts by Putz and Linebrink in the next two innings). I suppose that's our reward for sticking with that game.
Because even though the wife may give you a rude wake-up call some mornings, she can still make it up to you with her signature banana pancakes.