Question from Dakotadore:
Defense was, umm, questionable at times this weekend. Cause for concern? Or simply youth and inexperience and they should continue to improve?
I lean heavily towards the latter. I mean, the biggest defensive flub was made by Jr. LF Cooper Davis, when he dropped an easy fly in the 11th inning of a tie game. That flub was not characteristic of Davis’s defensive chops—this year, or past performance—so even though it led to two runs, and nearly cost us the series, I wouldn’t worry about it.
In fact, I’m bullish on the outfield being one of the best defensive position groups in all of baseball.
The defensive position I had the most concern about early in the year was 1st base, as Jones was less than cromulent early, and though J-Hen was solid defensively, he was lackluster at the plate. However, Dom Keegan, since returning from a blood clot, has been fine defensively, and has shown promise at the plate. If he can lock down the job, we should be fine.
Question from Athanatos504:
Right-hander @ethansmithmj will start Tuesday vs. Central Arkansas. Does this mean a Leiter weekend start?
I was fully prepared to give you an emphatic yes before Leiter came in for an inning of relief against Central Arkansas. Now? I have no idea.
Hell, we don’t even know who will be on the mound Friday or Saturday, let alone Sunday. How long will it take Hickman to return from his oblique strain? We have to assume Rocker will be ready to go, but he did miss his last start with arm soreness.
If I had to guess, I’ll go Rocker, Eder, and Leiter this weekend. If Hickman’s ready—and we hope he is—all bets are off.
Question from VandyImport:
For those of us 2000 miles away, where is the best place we can ship our vast undocumented monies for benefit of Nashville tornado relief?
Also, is it time to panic about the run situation yet? We are acutely feeling the absence of the Bleday Instant Relief system.
I’ll let DoreOnThePlains answer your first question:
The Community Fund is a good choice. Donate here.
Fellow SB Nation site OnTheForecheck (Nashville Predators) has a running list of opportunities for those near and far, including some local businesses donating proceeds on t-shirts.
As for your second question, I mean... no, it’s not time to panic, but, of course, it has never been time to panic. Last year we had an all-time great offense. This year we have a good offense. It’s never going to magically be last year’s offense, but again, we have the type of elite pitching that will make us a nightmare for opposing teams.
We can still defend our title, but I have to assume it will be on the backs of a lot of 3-1 type wins.