If he would either get shelled each time out or dazzle us with that wondrous forkball of his, life with Jose Contreras would be so much easier to take. Sure, one of those situations means we’d have to sit idly by and root for a lousy pitcher, but at least we’d be looking at something more absolute than what life with No. 52 has shaped up to be.
Consider his 2009 run, as reduced to lone-adjective descriptions:
- April 10 vs Twins: Bad.
- April 15 at Tigers: Shellacky.
- April 21 at Orioles: Gross.
- April 26 vs Blue Jays: Commendable.
- May 2 at Rangers: Disastrous.
- May 8 vs Rangers: Identical.
- June 8 vs Tigers: Dominant.
- June 13 at Brewers: Murderous.
- June 19 at Reds: Indifferent.
- June 26 vs Cubs: Inadequate.
- July 1 at Indians: Shaming.
- July 8 vs Indians: Crushing.
- July 19 vs Orioles: Serviceable.
- July 24 at Tigers: Close.
- July 29 at Twins: Short.
- August 4 vs Angels: Abysmal.
You can see he’s capable of greatness. Of course he is, and we knew that. What he’s also capable of are massive reversals of fortunes, most teams really only needing one start anymore until they extract their revenge and the rest of us reduced to helplessly sitting back and asking ourselves every time Contreras’ turn comes up in the rotation that most dreaded question of all: Which One Is Gonna Show Up Tonight?
If you watched last night’s game, you probably noticed the pitch Contreras threw that sailed over the head of Vladimir Guerrero. You probably also noticed home plate umpire Joe West issuing warnings to both benches, and you probably also noticed Hawkeroo tailspinning into an epic rant about how that call was “b.s.,” as was umpire Joe West who, Harrelson pointed out, “was not gonna feel good about himself in the morning.” It was a lousy pitch, sure, but it’s not that simple.
Hawk seems to have forgotten the Sox and Angels have fired more than a few warning shots at each other over the past few years, stemming from the dropped third strike that led to the White Sox winning game two of the 2005 ALCS and, arguably, getting back the momentum they would need to go all the way. Was that four years ago? Yes. Were three of the four principal parties involved in last night’s game? Yes. Do Ozzie Guillen and Mike Scioscia strike anyone as the types to forgive and forget?
On second thought, don’t answer that last part. And don’t tell Hawk, either.