I'll be taking things from a slightly different approach over the next week or so...doing various recap parts tackling topics like overrated/underrated players, impact players, why I think certain things happened...etc.
So to start: I'd like to mention two occurrences that happened during the year. One had a positive effect on the team, the other negative (both directly and indirectly).
Positive - The move of Carlos Villanueva to the bullpen:
I will admit, before the season when people were saying he didn't have a starting rotation spot locked up...I thought they were nuts. I thought he was the 4 starter...pencil him in all year. Well, I was wrong. Check out these splits.
I Split G GS GF W L S CG SHO IP ERA H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBPWow...talk about night and day. Everything went down. HRs...SO/W ratio...and ummm...yeah the ERA went down a bit too. The reason the experts will tell you is that as a changeup specialist...batters figure him out the 2nd (and especially 3rd) time through the batting order. Ok...I'll buy that. It might just be that he doesn't have the gas to go 7-8 innings consistently...ever. He's a wild card for the rotation again next year. All I know is that he's young, a damn good reliever, and that will come in handy next year. I say leave him in the bullpen for the time being.
as Starter 9 9 0 2 5 0 0 0 49 6.43 64 37 35 12 16 0 31 1
as Reliever 38 0 9 2 2 1 0 0 59.1 2.12 48 16 14 6 14 1 62 2
Negative - The injury to Gabe Kapler:
We all know the direct loss. As the 4th outfielder and #1 bench guy, the guy was a force. He exceeded everyone's expectations to the tune of .301/.340/.498. He did it pinch-hitting. Played good d. He even rocked it out at Chiptotle with Yours Truly.
But the indirect loss was even bigger. When he went down (around the 10th of September), our country music loving all star was on his way to his September collapse into mediocrity (.192 OBP in Sep & Oct...EGAD!). It's tough to think that there was a good chance that Gabe Kapler would have been getting the majority (if not all) of the RF starts when Corey Hart started to tank. Unfortunately, there were no other servicable options. So...years from now...when you think of Corey Hart and his game 1 strikeout, game 2 swing at the first pitch with the bases loaded, and basically every one of his HORRIBLE at bats the last 6 weeks of the season...try and remember that if Gabe Kapler hadn't tore his back or whatever...he may have been getting some of those at-bats. Ahhh...what might have been.