Friday, March 24, 2006

The Struggles of Bobby Jenks

I know spring training doesn’t really mean much. I know it’s just a time to get loosened up before the season, but I just can’t help worrying. Blame it on the insecure White Sox fan in me, but Bobby Jenks is freaking me out. Granted he wasn’t Mariano Rivera to begin with, but he was pretty dependable last year. If he had a rough outing he always bounce back strong, and he was lights out when it mattered most…see Game 4, World Series.

He started spring training just where he left off in 2005, as the fat, lovable, lights-out closer. He kicked off Cactus League play with 4 straight scoreless appearances, but since then, in his last four outings, he’s allowed 7 runs and 6 BB’s.

His stat line for the spring is ugly.
1-1 7.88 0 8.0 9 7 6 2

I don’t know why he’s so all over the place right now. Some people are blaming it on a loss of velocity on his fastball. He’s only clocking in at 95-96 mph range. Yeah, right, whatever. Most major leaguers would give up their non-pitching arms to throw that hard (something Jim Abbot did...low blow I know), but the thing people are forgetting is that it’s still spring training and his arm isn’t fully loosened up. If he came in and threw 100 mph right away, his arm would fall off.

Give him time, say a month, and his velocity will be back up to triple digits. I just hope he can find some control and regain his dominance and aura.
If for some reason Jenks flames out, I think we’ll be okay. We made the transition after Shingo flopped, and I think Neal Cotts can fill in no problemo.

9 days til Opening Day!


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