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Owens: In young MLB season, problems can be fixed (Apr. 18)

Andrew Owens | Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One NFL regular season game. That’s the equivalent of the 10-or-so games Major League Baseball teams have played to this point in 2012.

While a week-and-a-half is hardly insignificant, it’s way too early to proclaim your team division champs, or relegate them to cellar-dweller status.

If the entire season was determined after 10 games, the Orioles, Blue Jays, White Sox, Nationals and Mets would be among the 10 clubs reaching the postseason, and the Dodgers would enjoy the perk of home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.

While we’re at it, why don’t we throw the Cubs into the mix for kicks and giggles?

While trends from the first 10 games of the season are about as reliable as Professor Trelawney’s Divination class, there have been some pretty big headliners early in the 2012 campaign.

Red Sox drama continues

After an epic collapse to choke a playoff berth away in 2011, the only cure for Boston was the hope that comes with the start of a new season.

Apparently, it’s not that simple.

After enduring a three-game sweep in Detroit, a sweep that included three blown saves and a 10-0 beatdown, Boston realized it takes more than banning beer from the clubhouse and naming a new manager to right its ship.

Especially when the new manager tries to push the buttons of a clubhouse leader like Kevin Youkilis by questioning his commitment to the game.

Youkilis’ teammates made it clear their support is with him, not the skipper, so Valentine rightly backed off after realizing his blunder.

Combine that with Jacoby Ellsbury’s dislocated shoulder, and the Sox have a lot of work to do if they’re going to reach the postseason for the first time in three years.

Giant pitching problems

Giants stud starting pitcher Tim Lincecum delivered his best outing to date Monday. The only problem is he surrendered five runs on eight hits in six innings in his best outing.

The former Cy Young award winner has failed to pitch into the seventh in any of his three starts, and has given up nearly twice as many hits as innings pitched (22 and 13 2/3, respectively) in his three starts.

While Lincecum has the opportunity to (and likely will) bounce back sooner or later, he won’t be handing the ball off to closer Brian Wilson, who will undergo elbow reconstruction surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2012 season.

With question marks surrounding two of their most important players, and a strong start by the rival Dodgers in an all-of-the-sudden formidable NL West, the Giants’ prospects are looking less and less rosy by the day.

Ozzie still being Ozzie

It took all of four days for new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen to make headlines because of his mouth, not his team’s play.

“I love Fidel Castro … I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill

Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here,” Guillen told Time magazine, before being suspended April 10.

For the most part, Guillen’s controversial remarks target umpires and the happenings of a baseball game, but this time he really crossed the line. Especially as the manager in Miami. With a beautiful new stadium hoping to attract fans. In Little Havana.

He’s fortunate he only received a five-game suspension for his comments, which he apologized for last week.

In true Ozzie form, he’s taken the attention away from a team that could contend, and a ballpark that can pique fans’ interest, and put the spotlight directly on himself.

Luckily for all three of these teams, it’s only April 18, and there’s 28 more weeks of baseball to go.

 

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.