Wonderings: Injuries could pay dividends in the long run for Tech baseball

Will McKay, Associate Editor
Red Raider Sports
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Wonderings are brought to you every week by our good friends at Gator's Bayou. If you're looking for a real, authentic Cajun restaurant in Lubbock complete with a fun, Louisiana-style atmosphere, Gator's Bayou is the place to go!

Oh, and get the Dirty Bird. You can thank me later.


ON BROADWAY: With Martin shelved, Gardner questionable Tech baseball could earn returns on dividends down the road this year

It hasn't been a promising week and a half for Red Raider baseball health-wise. Friday night starter Davis Martin is out for at least one more week, and top-bat Tanner Gardner is on the mend from a high ankle sprain that could continue to severely limit him for the next few games.

Two players that are crucial components of the rock bed of this year's Red Raider baseball team are out or limited and look to be that for the near future with Big 12 series against Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State on deck.

That's a cringing pill to swallow, but it's one that Tim Tadlock's bunch will simply have to deal with for now.

And potentially, they can make this a stronger team by season's end if things go right in the process.

Yes, Gardner being limited really hurts, as he's seen as many Big 12 at-bats as anyone in this lineup, and he's really come on over the last few weeks after a tough start. His consistency, speed, and ability at the plate are unquestionably missed. But Gardner's injury makes room for reps in a crowded outfield.

Cody Farhat, Grant Little, and Connor Beck are all getting more playing time as a result, and a five man rotation in the outfield has now shrunk down to a four man rotation. Every single one of these players will benefit from more at-bats and looks in the field, especially Little, who's arguably actually been the best hitter on this team when given opportunities as a true freshman. That trio can really help solidify and deepen this lineup while Gardner is in and out of it and continues to recover.

Now, you won't hear me make an argument that it could be a good thing for this team to have Davis Martin out. He's one of the best in the conference and comprised the opening act of the best 1-2 starting pitching duo in the Big 12, maybe the country. Without him, the Red Raiders are clearly having to really on bigger gambles on Friday night in what becomes a much more bullpen-heavy outing than it's been in recent memory.

And while things are more shaky, John Henry Gonzalez has a real chance here to get meaningful outings in one of the toughest spots in college baseball as a Friday night starter. He's an extremely talented pitcher that's simply continuing to grow with his command, and the time he'll see on Fridays is invaluable experience for a youngster like him. Sure, he'll struggle, but he'll learn. If he can get over the hump before Martin returns, this starting rotation takes another big step in the right direction.

Obviously, Texas Tech has to continue to stack up series wins here with Martin out and Gardner questionable. But they can make themselves an even better team by season's end if these talented youngsters filling big shoes can learn from their experiences.


LINK ME BRO

-What will humanity look like in 203, 2040, or 2050 when most of us actually reading this will be either old farts or long gone? An interesting interactive map paints the picture.

-It feels reallllly weird to me that we're far enough away from the 90s to see biopics about people that were important then. Seeing as it's when rap music exploded, we're getting several movies about titans of the industry, including Tupac Shakur, who's story will be told in All Eyez On Me, which released its new trailer this week.

-The Bad Lip Reading people are back at it again, and this time they tackle The Force Awakens with the help of Mark Hamill as the voice of Han Solo. This is one of the better ones they've done.

-Here's your right out of the oven scorching hot take of the month that might not actually be as wrong as we all want to think: Does Tiger Woods' legacy actually mean anything in the pantheon of golf?

-This week in Florida Man: Florida Man waaaay oversteps his bounds, blames umbrellas for it


POWER RANKINGS: My favorites to win the Masters

The Masters. Simply saying the phrase invokes those instantly recognizable piano notes. Seriously, I think you could play the Masters music over a loudspeaker in a crowded street in Hong Kong, and I'd hear it. It's by far my favorite weekend sporting event not named March Madness of the year. So, I figured I'd share my thoughts on this year's field and who I think could rise to the top with Dustin Johnson out:


5. Adam Scott - Great iron play could really come in handy for Scott this weekend with the weather looking to be pretty tricky this weekend. Sure, he hasn't had a great finish since he won it 2013, but I think he could be in for a good weekend.

4. Phil Mickelson - If there's anyone in the history of golf that seems to have found the magic formula to excel at Augusta, it's Phil. Three wins and so many other close finishes, so even at 46, I think he's still a real contender.

3. Rickie Fowler - Fowler is a bit of an odd duck in golf if you ask me. I don't think he's got an particularly elite skills when compared to some of his top tier contemporaries, but you know what? He's an elite competitor that seems to rise to the occasion in big moments. With weather conditions this weekend that could really even the field, I think Fowler could have a surprise weekend amongst the adversity. Call me crazy if you want.

2. Rory McIlroy - It's so odd that McIlroy has never finished higher than 4th when we keep thinking he'll get over the hill. He's essentially the defacto number two for me just because of how flat out talented he is. His biggest problem has been getting in his own head if you ask me, so I'll be curious to see how he handles the weather conditions this weekend.

1. Jordan Spieth - Let's look at the numbers: The young dude has never finished worse than second in his first three appearances at the Masters. Think about that. No matter how his year is going, he just gets Augusta, much like Mickelson. He's my favorite, no doubt.


OFF THE RESERVATION: The final love affair with my hair - or what's left of it

The final countdown.

The twilight of a bygone era.

Oh end of golden days long gone.

No, I'm not talking about the waning hours of humanity or any other all-encompassing finality that may be on the horizon. I'm talking about the brown rug that covers my fat head.

Yes, as a man approaching the final years of my 20s, so does my hair approach its crash course date with fate. Genetics have wrought their wishes upon my scalp, and soon the once thick, luscious locks that have distracted from this ugly mug will go the way of the dodo.

As my father once did, and his father before him, I shall become bald. A family tradition like no other will bestow its blessing upon me.

I've known it was coming for years, however. It's been a slow road that started in late high school as my genes took their sweet time to thin things out a few hairs at a time.

And in that time of stewing over my predetermined follicle destiny , I came to accept it. In fact, I've come to embrace it. Look at the bright side: I was blessed with a round head, hair cuts will become a much more efficient affair, I won't use nearly as much shampoo, and hey, I have a built in excuse to wear hats more often.

Ah, who am I kidding: I'm going to miss my hair. But, it is what it is.

In the meantime, I will have a sultry, passionate love affair with what's left of it as the midnight hour hastens it's approach. And oh what a sweet final chapter it will be.

Goodbye, hair. Goodnight.

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