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Guard your patience

Baseball mirrors a campaign season

Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

To challenge patience one must only expect that a given baseball team will be “good this year”.

In Monday night’s post-game interview, Terry Francona pointed out that partying is not happening in the locker room of late, nor should it be.

Injuries are expected but they have not been kind, either.

Things could be worse. They could get worse, but it should not matter. When what you are doing is good you should keep doing it. Especially when the results stink, and not just to feel righteous. It is not about gaining or recovering ground. Transformation happens at this edge, and growth is sometimes uncomfortable.

Do you keep doing the same thing every game? Of course not. Every strategy needs nuance. More importantly, proficient tinkering requires information. Plenty of rope was given to a few prior castaways who dazzle in new homes and it is never fun to watch a spool dwindle.

Not all will dwindle away. There are turnaround candidates on the Guardians 2023 roster. Josh Naylor’s BABIP suggests sixty to eighty “missing” points in his batting average and on-base percentage. xwOBAcon offers a particularly spicy .384. Did you know that Josh Naylor owns a career-high hard-hit rate this season?

Josh Bell draws walks despite enjoying his own share of bad luck. The dingers: they will come. Besides, the middle of May is about the time Carlos Santana finally started to hit every season. Will Brennan even has a case of the BABIP blues. Amed Rosario might even stop swinging at inside breaking balls. These things appear to be poised for positive regression, as it is said.

There is also the fact that the Guardians are only three games back in a putrid division.

A quick review of the overall standings and run differential in the American League suggests that the only great teams are the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, the National League is just strange. There’s no other way to say it. Atlanta was somehow .500 with a +46 run differential at the time of this sentence. Five-ish wins, already up and gone. Is that really you, Pittsburgh?

Things will shift in the standings, but more than a month of Very Real Baseball is already gone.

Fortunately, there are several interesting prospects — some of whom we’ve already seen! — ready to play where needed, when needed. Just like last season.

Speaking of then: on this same date last season, Cleveland woke up with a .500 record before beating the White Sox in the evening. Thanks to a miserable midsummer they would not crest .500 for good until July 15. These are pretty much the same guys that finished 92-70, but a year older and still young.

And so: To challenge patience one must only expect that a given baseball team will be “good this year”.

“When will then be now?”