This Packers line, though, is as injury-riddled as any five-man unit in the league. It already was rebuilding after cutting Sitton last offseason and losing Lang to the Lions in free agency this spring, but nothing has gone right for James Campen’s unit this season.
The tackles were supposed to be the strength of the team, but Bulaga already has missed games with a recurring ankle injury and an illness before leaving Sunday’s loss with a concussion. Bakhtiari, meanwhile, suffered a hamstring injury in the opener and missed the ensuing four games before returning this week, only to aggravate the hamstring ailment and leave again.
Matthew Stafford is excellent, but he’s also seriously banged up and on a Lions (16.8 percent) team in which the defense seems almost entirely dependent upon forcing takeaways, which it probably won’t do at a similar rate over the remainder of the season.
Kizer was considered a raw prospect coming out of college, and he’s lived up to that billing. Hue Jackson has a respectable track record of developing quarterbacks, but Kizer looks like he needs more time. Jackson isn’t giving him much latitude for his performance, despite a lack of talent around Kizer and his inexperience.
Kizer is developing, but his job is still to win, Jackson said after the loss. That is first and foremost. I didn’t think it was going in the right direction. That is why I made the decision to take him out. If that was the case and it was just about development, I would have just left him in.
It is not about that. It is about winning.
Myles Garrett is a bright spot the team can build around. Cleveland had three sacks on McCown, and Garrett had two of them.
It looks like an upward trend. And maybe it is. But there’s a chance that no one will do it again for the next 30 years. Or 40. Because after this one, if Cabrera doesn’t get there, there are no guarantees the 2020s will have a representative.
If it does happen, it doesn’t have to be Trout, Stanton, or Harper. It could be someone we don’t know a lot about just yet. Joey Gallo. Cody Bellinger. Jake Burger, y’all.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the 600-homer club is the new 500-homer club. It’s absurdly difficult to hit that many home runs, and those extra 100 homers have to come from somewhere. Only 852 of the 15,000 players to have recorded a plate appearance have hit 100 homers in their career. Which means the next 600-homer hitter will need to claw their way to 500 something that’s been done only 27 times before and then have a better post-500-dinger career than the about 14,000 players ever had.
It’ll happen again. Cabrera might do it in the next few years. But it doesn’t have to happen a lot just because of the last couple decades, and it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the heck out of Pujols and what he’s accomplished. His mid-30s slide and the Angels’ descent into irrelevance have conspired to help the world forget just how good he used to be. Note that he was incredible, though. And while it doesn’t take 600 homers to make us appreciate that, it certainly helps.
If you like baseball for the deft strategy and the subtle notes and the white noise between the action, these trends are alarming.
Except, Stage 3 was born, in which Colon became a fluffy, jovial projection of baseball hopes and dreams. He reinvented himself as a control maven who used 34 different words for the word fastball.
Earlier in the afternoon, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State met for a battle that ended 6-5 in the Beavers’ favor, thanks in large part to Oregon State’s defense pulling through on a pair of spectacular defensive plays that prevented certain Titans base-running shenanigans. Baseball defense still lives.
Anyway, the evening tilt between No. 4 overall national seed LSU and Florida State promised the most compelling action of the CWS’ opening weekend, as the Tigers and Seminoles matched well at the plate and their pitching staffs are deep enough to throw themselves into panzer strikes for innings on end. This thing could have been a marathon.
In the top of the first, FSU’s Dylan Busby got things started with a two-run slam into left center where Fullerton’s Timmy Richards had previously bashed a three-run homer of his own in the afternoon game. That stretch of the outfield wall runs notoriously deep, especially so since the wind traditionally blows in from direct center at TD Ameritrade. No bother, though, when you’ve got bats as big as FSU’s. That could have demoralized the Tigers into submission.
Maddon’s main concern Wednesday was that his young players would internalize exactly what they heard come out of Montero’s mouth the night before, when the catcher publicly criticized starter Jake Arrieta for his slow delivery leading to Washington’s seven stolen bases. The decision to cut Montero Wednesday afternoon wasn’t aimed at preventing friction between the catcher teammates like Arrieta or Anthony Rizzo; it was meant to send a clear message to the young core of Cubs who witnessed the fallout.
The Cubs in their current state have plenty of key Stage 2 players, from Willson Contreras to Albert Almora and Javier Baez to Addison Russell. Rookies Ian Happ, Jeimer Candelario, Mike Zagunis and Montero’s replacement, Victor Caratini, will be there soon.