The Bleacher Creature

27 April 2017
Justin Guglielmetti, Bleacher Creature

He’s So Smooth
We’re two weeks into the 2017 MLB season and you know what that means: it’s time to overreact to random players’ hot starts! This is one of my favorite parts about the beginning of any sports season, when fans latch onto a player performing at an unsustainable rate in the early going, setting themselves up to turn on the guy when he inevitably falls back to Earth after the first month. And people fall for this same trick year after year after year. Isn’t it great? So far, this year’s runaway favorite for Guy You Shouldn’t Have Been So Quick to Add to Your Fantasy Team is Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins. The nominal ace of his ballclub, Santana has floated around the majors for 12 years, staking a reputation for himself as a solid if unremarkable starter. Now 34 years old, with over 2,000 innings logged in the book and a noticeably less lively arm because of it, reasonable projections put his season ERA somewhere around 4.00. Too bad those projections forgot to take into account that Santana was bitten by a radioactive Clayton Kershaw over the winter! Through three starts, he is 3-0 with 15 strikeouts and an ERA and WHIP of 0.41 and 0.45 respectively in 22 innings. Drop what you’re doing right now, get on the first plane you can to Vegas, and bet everything on this guy to win the Cy Young. Trust me, it’s a sure thing! And while you’re at it, here’s some snake oil!

Olé, olé olé olé!
He did it, he finally did it. Sergio Garcia, one of the best golfers of his generation on the PGA tour, bagged his first Major win last Sunday at the 81st annual Masters Tournament. Garcia’s career has been filled with heartache, with 22 top 10 finishes in major tournaments — including four runner-ups — before his big victory at Augusta National, and it looked for a while like things were once again going to take a turn for the worse for the controversial Spaniard. Sergio sat tied with Justin Rose for the lead at six under par going into the final day of play but stumbled a bit at the turn, bogeying holes 10 and 11 to fall two shots behind Rose. Undeterred, he managed to recover with two huge birdies on 14 and 15 to force a playoff. With one final hole to play and twenty years worth of expectations hanging over his head, Garcia remained calm and made par while Rose collapsed. As Garcia clenched his fists in triumph and the crowd roared its approval, we were reminded once more that it’s impossible not to get romantic over this game.

Battle of the MVPs
I know I just devoted a ton of space to these guys elsewhere, but did you realize that Russell Westbrook and James Harden are playing each other in the first round? Good God, this is going to be the best superhero matchup since Batman v. Superman (yeah that’s right, I liked it better than Civil War. Deal with it). It shouldn’t actually matter for the regular season MVP, but this series is going to have huge implications for who wins that particular prize.

And with that, the Bleacher Creature will descend back into his lair beneath the seats of Chapman Stadium for the summer. Go Yankees. Go Celtics. Tom Brady is literally Jesus. See you next fall.