It doesn't really seem possible, but we are half way through the season. A bit of a roller coaster ride has us at a 40-41 record. Not great, not terrible. Considering the division and all that has gone on not so bad. We've had some good games and some awful games. At times the offense has been very good, and other times not. Same with the starting pitching and same with the bullpen.
At the moment, I'm feeling pretty confident, going into the second half of the season. Why? Because I get the feeling that we are going to stop settling for the safe move and start taking some chances. What moves are safe and what aren't:
- Using Jayson Nix at third. That was safe. He's a 'veteran', you knew exactly what he was going to give you, not much, but you knew what you had. Finally, the team decided to bring up Brett Lawrie, not the safe move. We can't be sure what he would give us, it was a risk. Course, he gets hurt. So the team decides to move Jose Bautista to the spot. Now I don't really agree with the move. I think he is happier in RF, so I'd leave him there. But moving him is a risk. It is something. It's it miles better than sticking with the safe choice of Nix. It could turn out bad but at least but there is the chance of good.
- Using Corey Patterson and Rajai Davis is safe. They have been around the league for awhile. In Patterson's case you knew what you were going to get, someone that looks the part of an outfielder. Will look good for a week or two but in the long run isn't someone, that a team that wants to win, will be using everyday. Davis? Well he has had a couple of decent seasons, so there was hope he could be ok. I don't mind one of them in the lineup, but using both of them seems like you are hoping for way too much.
- I'm so glad they have brought Eric Thames up again. I didn't understand why they sent him down after his first shot. Yeah, putting him in right field is a risk. Yep, he'll make mistakes and Buck and Pat will do ten minutes on how rookies make mistakes and if you had a veteran there you wouldn't see that. But veterans make mistakes too. At least with Thames there is a chance of something good coming out of it.
- I like the idea of trying Travis Snider in CF. He has good speed, he moves well in the outfield. He isn't the safe choice. It would be safer just to run Davis and Patterson out there, but we know what we have in them, and they aren't going to help us win. Snider might not do a good job there, but at least there is the chance he could help the team win. I know, every mistake he makes people will be saying 'I told you he wasn't a CFer', but I'd rather deal with mistakes from someone that can help than watch someone be perfect that can't help.
- I'm also glad that Brett Cecil is back and, I'm hoping, Jesse Litsch isn't far behind. Jo-Jo Reyes and Carlos Villanueva have done good a good job in the rotation. They have both surprised me. Jo-Jo can be pretty good when he is hitting the bottom of the strike zone. Carlos I do like for that swing man role, long relief and occasional start, when needed. But I really don't see either of them being part of our rotation when we are ready to contend so I'm glad we are going to get a chance to see what Cecil can do for us.
I hope that the second half will be time to take some risks, call up some guys and give them long looks. I'm really not sold that Adam Loewen is much of a prospect but I'd rather give him playing time than Juan Rivera. Give him 100 or 150 at bats and see what happens. And, of course, as soon as Brett Lawrie shows he is healthy, let's get him up here and let him get used to the majors. And why not bring David Cooper back, give him a reasonable number of at bats, instead of just 33 and let him show what he can do?
So I'm happy with the direction of the team, going into the second half. I'm confident that trying out some players is the way to go. We might not win as much, though I think we will, but it should be more fun to watch young guys that have a chance.
I mean, isn't it more fun watching Eric Thames bat second than Corey Patterson. Maybe Thames won't turn out to be any better than Patterson but I think it is more fun watching him.