Obviously the offence still is nowhere near where it should be, but positive signs abound:
VW seems to have relocated his stroke, and Stairs and Rolen continue to look good, which gives us a solid (and interchangeable) 3-4-5 at last.
I've never been a huge fan of Rios at leadoff - I still think he's our ideal #3 hitter - but he seems comfortable there and has been the catalyst to a number of rallies. (I should note that one walk in ten games isn't exactly ideal, but we'll let that pass for now)
We "manufactured" a run yesterday! Seriously. Stairs doubled, followed by VW intelligently grounding out to the right side once the count got to two strikes, followed by Lyle hitting a deep sac fly. The crowd let out an audible collective sigh of relief at the sight of three consecutive hitters doing their job.
Shaun Marcum is a golden god.
Richie Cunningham's grip on the 5th starter role no longer seems so tenuous to me. Winning a couple and actually pitching deep into the game will do that.
Jesse Carlson is developing into a real find for our bullpen. I loved Gibby's willingness to go to him in the 8th yesterday. I can only imagine the tension on the bench at the thought of taking the ball out of Doc's hands with a one-run lead - the idea of blowing another game for him must have seriously tightened some sphincters. I don't think we need three lefty specialists (plus BJ) in the 'pen over the long haul, so I'm not quite sure what the future holds in this regard, but if someone has to be shipped out at some point, I hope it's not Carlson. Frankly I wouldn't be at all unhappy to see Downs writing his kids' initials in some other team's mound.
Any negatives in the four-game win streak? Yeah, one little one. For some reason Gibby insists on putting Eckstein in the 2-hole to kill rallies, and at SS to make errors and put our starters' brilliant outings at risk. If this persists, I foresee this headline in a T.O. paper some time between now and September: