Aside from warm weather, a pleasant diversion, and the all-encompassing sense of false hope, my favorite thing about early-season baseball has to be the magnification of every accomplishment. Buehrle threw a shutout on Opening Day? A 0.00 ERA for the season is inevitable! Ozzie Guillen calls out Sox fans? This means war! Andruw Jones has a good night? He’s back, baby!
But premature ridiculousness aside, there’s a certain sense that these early days might be telling us more than we realize. Let us gaze, then, into the immediate future and hypothesize as to how much of what already is may or may not become what will be.
Right Now: Paul Konerko has four home runs and eight RBI through ten games, establishing a pace to hit 65 while driving in 130.
Real Or Unreal?: The numbers are absolutely unreal, but the ratio is not impossible. Twenty-five bombs with fifty across the plate? When the team has a collective .221/.316/.397 line, there’s no reason to bet against it.
Right Now: Alexei Ramirez has established himself as a liability both at the plate and in the field.
Real Or Unreal?: A little from column A, and a lot of column B. We all know Alexei’s not that great with the glove, but history also suggests his bat will come around from this, the newest edition of his traditionally slow starts.
Right Now: Mark Teahen is in the White Sox’ plans through 2012 .
Real Or Unreal?: Sigh. On the plus side, he’s outhitting old “Thunder Strike” Konerko. I know this is a bad thing for so many reasons, I just can’t decide which is worse. Is it that he has more going for him than Konerko yet less to show for it, or is it that Konerko and Teahen could both be doing so much more even while Teahen is handing over unearned runs two at a time and Paulie’s one dimension is getting smaller and smaller? You know what, let’s go with the first one.
Right Now: Bobby Jenks is actually Billy Koch.
Real Or Unreal?: Koch was traded to the Marlins midway through the 2004 season; seeing as how current Marlins closer Leo Nunez has allowed zero runs and one hit while walking none, it seems unlikely Jenks will be heading to Miami. But the whole get-two-on-before-striking-out-the-side-with-pure-gas thing? Oh yeah, they could make a movie about that. Koch II: Jenks or Be Jenksed!.
Right Now: Jake Peavy is the team’s worst starting pitcher.
Real Or Unreal?: Don’t even joke about that; either he’s the Jake Peavy of the past two outings and thus a bust for the ages, or he’s Jake Peavy, yet finishes fifth in Cy Young voting behind Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and, oh, let’s say Matt Thornton.
Right Now: The Sox have yet to win a game while scoring fewer than five runs.
Real Or Unreal?: All too real, but that’s really not a bad thing. I mean, it’s not like the Sox aren’t capable of crushing the Zack Greinkes and CC Sabathias of the world when they have to, right? Every team coughs up five runs a night, right? And because their offense is so awesome they should fear no one, right? Right. No one! Team of Destiny!
Right Now: These first two weeks are exactly how the rest of the season will go, and 2009 is doomed to repeat itself.
Real Or Unreal?: Go Hawks!