There's nothing quite like winning to get me back to writing!
On numerous occasions I've wanted to get back into the flow but just couldn't for one reason or another. Now that the season is underway, however, no excuses are valid.
Though it was slow to progress, it was a productive off-season as we were able to add a number of pieces to the Club to solidify our depth. Those moves combined with the continued maturation of our player development system should make it easier for us to navigate the inevitable injuries and other obstacles that will come our way over the course of the season. Last night was a perfect example...
We entered spring training relying heavily on our back four relievers and maybe most importantly on our one tough left-hander, Joe Thatcher. However, Joe battled a sore shoulder through spring training, so we decided that it would be best for him to start the year on the disabled list. Though we had a number of good right-handed options in Adam Russell, Ryan Webb, Ernesto Frieri, Radhames Liz, Greg Burke, Luis Perdomo, etc, we turned to left-hander Cesar Ramos, a starter throughout his career, and asked him to assume that spot in the pen. Last night he entered the game with the bases loaded and just one out to face Stephen Drew, a situation that he has never faced in his baseball career. He made two excellent pitches resulting in a weak groundball to short for a big out. Exhale.
It's easy to say that Chris Young deserves the game ball for last night's win with six innings of one hit ball against a tough lineup, because he probably does. Or maybe Everth Cabrera gets the game ball with a single, double, triple, stolen base, and four rbi (damn, that was a good night). Cesar Ramos, though, may have gotten the biggest out of the game. Given the circumstances of his spot on the team, it also may have been the most gratifying performance from an organizational standpoint.
Hopefully we'll have many nights like this one where we get key contributions from multiple players. That was what made us successful over the final two months of last season and even the past few weeks of spring training, so it was good to see it carry into the early season.
Congrats to Cesar on his first hold (and Jed on his first win). It's always good to get that first one out of the way.