Posted by: Opey | April 25, 2007

‘Crew Week in Review

Well, it now appears that my two-week-in predictions about the Crew’s season are on track so far. They had a great week, going 6-1 over the past week. There were definitely some great points, but as always, there are areas where improvement is possible.

Strong Points:

  • The young nucleus of the infield is performing nearly flawlessly. Fielder is crushing the ball as expected and Weeks is getting on base and his defense has improved by leaps and bounds. The surprise of this group is Mr. Hardy. He has shown some great power over the past week, now residing in the top of the NL home-run race (Who would have known my game prediction would have been just a bit off). Hopefully his average keeps up. I can deal with a loss of power at the gain of increased average.
  • The back end of the rotation has been much better than expected. Everyone thought Bush would be a strong point, but not many thought he would be doing as well as he has. Add that to the fact that Claudio Vargas has been a K machine and it adds up to more rest for the first 3 starters and increased reliability in the rotation.
  • In genera, the team has been much stronger in some statistical areas. For the first time in eons, team strikeouts are way down. This means more contact and more opportunities for hits and runs. Team defense has also improved greatly. Just look at the double play barrage last evening as evidence of that. This team is not yet beating itself as it has done in the past.

That being said there are a few areas for improvement:

  • Bill Hall’s Defense: I know that he needs time, but right now the easy plays are giving him trouble. Hopefully this clears itself up with a couple more weeks of experience.
  • The Bullpen (minus Turnbow, Cordero, Wise, and Shouse): This may be grasping at straws, but we need to improve here too. Our starters have done a great job getting through the 6th inning so far, but that is bound to change. We need to be able to be confident in our ability to hold on to games in the 5th and 6th innings occasionally, and I don’t think we are there yet. Too many questions about the long and middle relief guys exist.
  • Finally, we need to shore up the durability of our coaching staff.

Everything looks like it’s on schedule for this team. The youth is gaining experience and the offense and pitching have been dominant to this point. Hopefully it continues.

Game Predictions (If they get it in, it’s currently delayed by rain)

Brewers 3 Cubs 2: Sheets goes 5 and a third, Weeks with 2 hits, Estrada gets a double following his return after the collision with Prince the Train

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