Thoughts on Branyan, current winning streak

I tried to link this to Lookout Landing, because I love them and want to link to them, but instead I guess I have to link this Tweet about Russell Branyan being picked up by the Angels. Does this seem weird to anyone else? Branyan was released by the Diamondbacks, a team in second place in the NL West, and picked up by the Angels, a team (currently) in second place in the AL West. Until today, I hadn’t really checked out the standings, so I was unaware that the DBacks were doing so well – all I knew, actually, was that JJ Putz has been saving games like a crazy person. For whatever reason, that didn’t translate into ‘Hey, maybe I should see how the Diamondbacks are doing now’. Then again, I only just found that out in the last 24 hours.

I think part of why this is confusing is that you would think, by their current standings, that both teams were of the mind that they are in contention mode. I was going to look up some stuff on FanGraphs, but Branyan has made it more difficult for me by spreading his talent all over the Indians organization last year, and I’m really not in the mood to get out my calculator (believe it or not, pharmaceutical calculation class last year really helped me a bit with math, and would probably be applicable here, but I just can’t with the math right now), but on the surface? It seems like one team that is notorious for not doing well in recent years has released a guy who’s gotten 13 hits and one home run in 69 plate appearances, and a team that is notorious for doing well in recent years have decided that this might be a good grab for them. I find the move questionable. I’m assuming he was at first base during his tenure in Arizona, so maybe Anaheim thinks that him being a designated hitter oh, wow, Branyan is actually listed as an infielder in LA…

Well, that’s something else…

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not anti-Branyan, and I did like him while he was here, but I had sort of expected Mr Three True Outcomes to live out his days in the National League. Wonders never cease.

Dave has some sobering numbers over here, comparing April and May. I can’t explain it in a way that doesn’t sound like ‘Oooo, I knew that‘, but if there has been excitement lacking in my posts lately, this may be why. I’m not convinced yet, I’m not totally sold. Wins are exciting, and wins are results, and sometimes exciting results are all we’re after as baseball fans. And I love a good win as much as the next person. But are the 2011 Mariners as good as their increased win rate might indicate? Probably not. By the very fact that I’m me, I’m going to remain pessimistic until there is no reason not to be. I think that even if the Ms had a good young team that racked up wins over wins over wins throughout the season, I would still remain skeptical and guarded until the last out of game 7 of the World Series, until the World Series trophy was being held aloft by Felix Hernandez or whomever might be holding it in such a situation, until speeches were being made, and we were all waving rally towels, cheering until our voices were gone, spilling beer and water on each other in a mass celebration of all things Mariners.

Yoiks! I need to get a grip. And maybe some smelling salts…

This weekend’s series against the Yankees may tell us a lot, or it may tell us what we already sort of know – that the Ms are a team with a great pitching staff, a good bullpen, pretty good defense, and a questionable offense. As is my wont, I hope for the former, but expect the latter. This way, my fragile little heart stays in one piece, and there are no let-downs. I try and take games one at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in the winning streaks and excellence that we’ve been seeing, and I enjoy allowing myself to get excited over it – but deep down, I’m skeptical and waiting. I won’t deny that beating the Yankees would give me a mean case of the Happys, but I’m not expecting it. Because I’m a Mariners fan. Let’s go Mariners.

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