a very :( Vance Wilson, photo by Samara Pearlstein
Hm. I don’t think I like it much.
Of course this game wasn’t REALLY the fault of absent-Polanco or absent-Carlos or absent-Pudge. The lineup held their own today, and it was the pitching that dropped the ball. Chad Durbin was not very pimp. I’m not complaining (yet); we still can’t expect too much out of him. Ledezma’s outing did not really inspire the greatest joy in my soul, but… such is our bullpen.
Still, I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Polanco and/or Guillen and/or Pudge were in there… I mean, that 9th inning comeback involved the middle part of the order. We ALMOST had them! Polanco and Guillen are both good solid hitters who are likely to make contact and get on base in a situation like that. A couple more guys on base in that inning and we at least tie it up. OH, THE MIGHT-HAVE-BEENS!
Everyone’s gotta rest some time or other, though. I understand that. I do not begrudge Polanco his rest (poor dude’s got a virus), I do not begrudge Pudge his extremely rare days off (his much-abused ancient catcher’s body!) and I most certainly do no begrudge Carlos Guillen, Carlos Guillen’s groin, or Carlos Guillen’s Surgically Repaired Knee their day off. And of course I know that this was just one game (actually, no, I’m having a hallucination that involves time expanding like an accordion, so this game was actually 250 GAMES IN ONE. Yeah, your mind is blown, I know). But… everyone with an off-day at once?
The attempted comeback in the 9th still gives you that ‘ehhhh, we could have HAD this one’ feeling, and that’s hard to shake.
Also hard to shake: Craig Monroe’s complete and baffling inability to make contact with the ball today. Five strikeouts in 9 innings… good lord. I’m assuming this was merely a freakish occurrence that WILL NOT BE REPEATED, DO YOU HEAR ME, CRAIG? but I’m more concerned that this freak thing will send Craig off some sort of mental cliff, and he’ll be too psyched out to play baseball effectively for a while. Hopefully I am as wrong as it is possible to get and tomorrow he comes out and hits two home runs or something.
Bad news for the small but extremely dedicated Vance Wilson fan club. Tommy John surgery on his elbow knocks Vance out for 9-12 months. Ouch. That could very well cut into next year; in fact I expect that it almost certainly would. Due to his age and to the type of wear that a catcher’s arm undergoes (no ‘relief catchers’ after every 5-6-7 innings…), I’m guessing that Vance will be at the upper end of that recovery time range.
You’ve got to feel for the guy. He’s an eternal backup, he finally finds a team where he’s appreciated enough to get a multi-year deal, he’s finally starting to get his bat in order, people actually LIKE him, gosh darn it… and he goes and blows his elbow to smithereens. He’s also 34, and will be 35 by the time he comes back from this surgery. Bearing in mind that 33 is starting to get into the upper end of effectiveness for GREAT catchers like Posada and Varitek and Pudge, and you have to wonder if Vance will even be able to come back from this at all.
So, small but dedicated Vance Wilson fan club: does loyalty revert to Mike Rabelo, or do you start dredging the minors for The Next Big Backup?
Aaaaand don’t forget, Placido Polanco is still leading the polls, but he and other Tigers need YOUR support in the All Star game if they are to get the recognition they so very richly deserve. Vote early, vote often!
I admit to being a little more conflicted about Maggs… at least with Polanco, there is NO contest, he is the best second baseman in the AL. Ze end. There are lots of really good AL outfielders, though, and you can only pick three. Magglio has been hitting so well this year that you really have to take him into consideration, though, and add him to your ballot. It is only fair.
And you’re a fair person, aren’t you? Don’t you like… justice? And… freedom? If you are not a filthy terrorist, vote Magglio Ordonez!