Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Souhan Tipping Columns

It's time for another trip in to the literary abyss that is a Jim Souhan article. It's getting to be a bit like poking the helpless kid in the belly for the fun of it. It's merely for our entertainment and let's be honest, he all makes us feel smarter when read his work.

Blue Jays have Santana figured out

For Napoleon it was Waterloo, for Bill Clinton a blue dress, and now it is time to wonder if Johan Santana has found his unexpectedly Draconian nemesis in the form of the Toronto Blue Jays' prying eyes

This is kind of thing is Jim's specialty. Only Jim would lump a 19th century military leader, a U.S. president, and a Twins pitcher in the same thought. Not really even a thought, more like a collection of words written in English, grouped together in a seemingly organized manner.

He has dominated hitters for the past two seasons, at times displaying the kind of stuff you can describe only as "unhittable," and yet the Jays look at him and see Scott Klingenbeck.

Well, I'm guessing they see Johan Santana, but I don't know there might be something in the water up there. If that's the case, I want in. I've been trying for years to get people to look at me and see Matthew Fox. Rugged, yet handsome and caring, with a...

The Twins lost their season opener 6-3 to Toronto on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, and while baseball openers never answer any questions, they tend to raise a few.

In this case:

• If Padres fans throw syringes at Barry Bonds, what should Jays fans throw at Twins hitters? Popguns? Cans of Slim-Fast?

• Jays catcher Bengie Molina, when with the Angels, once took offense at a Star Tribune scouting report that accused him of running as if he had a bear on his back. Is it OK to say, after his home run off Santana on Tuesday, that he trots like he has a bear on his back?

• Has a season opener ever felt so much like a Readers Digest version of the previous season?

I'm not sure what these things have to do with the story as a whole, besides the fact that they are "baseball" related. And if you're wondering, I have no idea what he means with that last one. It's condensed? It's watered down from last year?? I really want to be in on Jim's brainstorming for columns. The one thing I'm certain of is Jim's self-imposed requirements for hcolumnsuns:

1. Rip somebody'sies weight and/or physicappearancence
2. Use a cultural reference that is outdated by 4-5 years
3. Include at least one verbose sentence that makes absolutely no sense at all and pawn it off as witty and smart writing

He goes on to say that since the Twins were facing Halladay that it's not that bad a loss. So I guess that makes up for the crappy take he has on why Santana got knocked around.

Since Santana usually waits until June to attain dominance, the only surprising trend to resurface Tuesday was the Jays' ability to swing at Santana's stuff like they know what's coming.

In one sentence Jim manages to contradict his entire argument. I can do that, but only when I'm arguing with my wife. The thing is, anyone who does any amount of listening or reading about the Twins would know Johan struggled all through Spring Training with his changeup and getting it down in the strike zone. In his last outing in spring, he basically threw fastballs all afternoon and had some good success. If Jim "knows" Johan takes a couple months to get primed, what weight does the argument carry?

A rumor made its way around baseball last May that Santana was tipping off his pitches, most notably his changeup.

This is a rumor worth investigating...

Gumshoe Souhan is hot on the trail of this fresh story. Seriously, this was a story for five minutes last spring. Wouldn't you think the numbers speak for themselves last year? The thing is that Santana is a relatively young pitcher who enjoyed a big season once he got a spot in the rotation. No one had seen his stuff before and thus the 20 win season. The next year was different, people had seen the changeup and knew the fastball was filthy. But his struggles and "lower" win total (16) was not really a product of poor pitching, but poor run support. Sure he had poor outings and down stretches, but is anyone really okay with saying there's this league wide conspiracy about him tipping his pitches? No, what that is is someone who doesn't have a real story to tell and is too lazy to think of a fresh take. It's lazy journalism and it's lazy speculation.

If Johan doesn't have all his pitches going that hurts him. He relies so heavily on his changeup to counter the fastball that it becomes noticeable when he doesn't have the change going. And thus 10 hits and 4 earned runs and only 3 Ks. We're one game in to the season and Jimbo hits the panic button. I can't wait to see what'll be next.