Panic Buttons and Baseball
It’s a long season. April 20th is too soon to push the panic button in baseball—even on Chicago’s north side or in Kansas City.
It’s too soon for L.A. Angels fans to panic over Albert Pujols. He’ll settle in before long even though he doesn't have the protection he had in the batting order in St. Louis.
During the summer of 2010, Cardinal fans were in a tizzy over Kyle Lohse’s struggles as he returned from arm surgery. As he piled up innings and regained arm strength, he returned to form in the closing weeks of that season. Lohse was pretty solid in 2011. He’s pretty good again this year too.
A year ago, Chris Carpenter was struggling and a segment of Cardinal Nation was sprinting toward the nearest panic button. Most of Carp’s early season problems were issues with the breaks of the game and a lack of run support. Down the stretch, it was the hitters struggling—as usual—against Carp.
In 1985, John Tudor was 1-7 at the end of May. Tudor finished with a 21-8 record and a league leading ten shutouts. Even Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton had streaks of tough starts. As the late Ernie Harwell would say, “That’s baseball.”
Now there are some worries expressed about Adam Wainright. It’s a good bet that the fears are groundless. Getting back up to speed after a year off isn’t going to happen without setbacks. I heard Al Hrabosky earlier in the week on one of the Cardinal telecasts point out that it isn’t unusual for pitchers to go through a “dead arm” phase at this point in injury recovery or early in the season.