Here's one example of a rational approach to the Cody Ross and Brian Wilson injury news from yesterday:
Look, they aren’t ripped tendons or broken bones. It’s a drag to lose them both for the start of the season, but for a couple of weeks, the Giants can make do. The difference between Ross and his replacement is, what, five hits or walks every hundred at-bats? The difference between Wilson and his replacement is maybe two or three blown saves over the course of a season, so a week or too shouldn’t be too much of a hit.
Ah, logic. Cold, soulless logic. It’s like when you’re experiencing turbulence on an airplane, and you start clawing at the upholstery, there’s always some dink who says, "You know, flying in a plane is statistically safer than driving a car to the grocery store." It might be true, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to punch the person who says it. Nor does it change the fact that planes are too heavy to fly, just look at them, why don’t they have feathers, oh god, get me off. Sometimes logic gets in the way of a good freakout.
Such as this: you know Aaron Rowand is going to start in center field while Ross is out. You know this with every fiber of your being. Bruce Bochy is going to give Rowand a chance to redeem himself, and it will come with Andres Torres in right field.
The difference between Cody Ross and Aaron Rowand probably isn’t as big as you thing. Heck, between the power, the walks, and the strikeouts, they’re very, very similar players. If Rowand rebounds to his previous levels, he’s basically Cody Ross. And there is a chance – a small chance – that the Rowand from last year was just unlucky. If Ross is out for a couple of weeks, it shouldn’t be a big deal if Rowand (or Schierholtz) gets those starts.
But there’s something about those Rowand at-bats, those adjustment-free flailings at sliders low and away, that brings back the feeling of hopelessness from the 2008 Giants. This guy was supposed to be part of the middle of the order? This was the big free agent pickup to lift the franchise after Bonds left? Even after a World Series championship, Rowand’s at-bats subconsciously take us there again.
There is also this: while the Giants have a fairly deep bullpen – and one of the all-time closer greats in Nippon Professional Baseball history! – losing Brian Wilson for any length of time is like losing your mom in a department store when you were a kid. It’s a total absence of a security that you took for granted, and you start getting scared that the guy with the weird sideburns behind the counter is going to take you home and call you his own.
The closers between Robb Nen and Brian Wilson:
Don’t look away! Force yourself to stare at that list. Keep staring. What about Brad Hennessey made him a closing option? Was it his 91-mph heater, his flat slider, or his average control? Maybe all of the above! Don’t stop staring at that list yet. Do not avert thine eyes. This is important to remember. Yes, logic says that the difference between Brian Wilson and Clay Hensley is a single win over the course of a season, but logic didn’t have to watch Matt Herges close games with his air-moving mediumball.
So it’s logical to shrug your shoulders at the injury news, be a little disappointed, and move on. But it’s also completely appropriate – nay, required – to freak out as if Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey both quit baseball to join the priesthood on the same day. Cody Ross injured? Brian Wilson’s health is in doubt? These are not the things Giants fans were told to expect from our defending champions. These are not things Giants fans had to deal with last year.
So please visit McCovey Chronicles tomorrow for a post titled: "WHAT IN THE HELL BOCHY WHY ARE YOU STARTING ROWNAD HE IS TERRIBLE AND THIS SEASON IS OVER WHAT ARE THE SABERCATS DOING?" It will be some of my finest analysis yet.