The White Sox shut out the poor Cubbies today, winning the South Side part of the annual cross-town rivalry. It is my opinion, and take it with some sea salt due to my lack of paying attention, that losing a series to the Sox is a sign that you’re not ready for prime time. Danks shut out the Cubs, which means he gave up five runs in his previous start. Looking at his recent history, I am wrong. In his last four starts, that’s six runs given up in 28.1 innings pitched with a 26/8 strikeout to walk ratio. A 6-6 starting pitcher is about right on a 37-38 team.
I’m still trying to give a football equivalent to the U.S. soccer team giving up a 2-0 lead in the Confederation Cup final against Brazil. Do 100 Americans know what the Confederation Cup is? For a while I thought that a goal in soccer was like a touchdown in football. When you’re down 1-0, it feels more like two scores, like maybe 10-0. I’d say that the U.S. leading 2-0, on two shots no less, was like having a 17-0 halftime lead. Instead of the Giants beating the Patriots, it was like the 2008 Lions beating the 2007 Patriots at the half. Now, the U.S. soccer team isn’t as bad as the Lions. They aren’t quite the Giants either.
In the first two games of the tourney, against world powers Brazil and Italy, the Americans lost by a combined score of 6-1. Due to a miraculous finish, a 3-0 win over Egypt and a 3-0 Brazil win over Italy, the red, white, and blue got a trip to the semifinals. They were lucky enough to meet the Spaniards. Spain is like the Houston Oilers in the 1990s. Always a contender, and they never see a playoff game that they can’t choke away. The U.S. prevailed 2-0. In the finals they would play the Brazilians.
The two goals were breathtaking. Goalie Tim Howard made save after save. Victory looked possible. But, in the first minute of the second half Brazil put one in the back of the net. It was weird to realize that this game, being staged in South Africa, was being played in the winter. I wondered why so many players had gloves on. Brazil kept attacking and the U.S. couldn’t get a decent counter attack going. When the third goal happened, it was over. It’s harder to lose when you have the lead, and a two-goal lead at that. It’s back to World Cup qualification for the U.S. I hope they put up a good effort, unlike in 2006 when they finished 0-2-1.
The football lull makes us think that the season is months away. The first preseason game is six weeks from tonight. I think I just gave my wife a grey hair with that comment. I’ve been trying to prepare for two upcoming drafts. I looked over quarterbacks last week, which wide receivers on the docket this week. I have one draft, an online one, starting in three weeks. July’s going to be tough because I have two or three classes on the road to my Web Design/Development Certificate at Emory, along with a “final” project.
The teams that work hardest during the perceived lulls are the ones most prepared for the regular season. One owner, known unfortunately as Tick, in my dynasty league smartly put out a list of players and their “price”. Since in Zealots we get to have 60 players now but have to cut to 53 by the regular season, he’s setting himself up to get a couple of draft picks out of his tough roster decisions. I bit and took Kevin Jones for a fourth rounder. I have Forte and need the assurance of his backup.
I have history with Jones. In my first dynasty season I traded Keith Bulluck and Anquan Boldin for Jones. Kevin Jones finished the second half of 2004 with more than 900 rushing yards. He is Exhibit A in the case for not taking a player’s second half too much to heart. Jones has battled injuries and has not rushed for as much as 700 yards in a season since his rookie year. Veterans are always a safer bet in fantasy, but they are not nearly as fun to pick up. That’s my final thought for today.
Oh wait, there’s one more. Mr. Funk, Cubs got nothin’. Thank you.