We were talking to Ross Gload after tonight's game about fast starts and how much they mean in the long run, if they mean anything at all. The Marlins have the best record in the majors at the moment at 7-1, and Gload contributed to Wednesday's victory over the Braves when his bases-loaded walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh forced in the go-ahead run.
Gload doesn't downplay the significance of a quick start even though he's been a member of two different teams that went in opposite directions after breaking fast out of the gate. He was on the 2005 Chicago White Sox club that opened up a 15-game lead in the standings, held on for the division title, and won the World Series. He was also on the '08 Kansas City Royals, which swept the Tigers to start the season, built a 6-2 record, and then stumbled to a 75-87 final mark.
Still, as Gload pointed out, "You can't take wins away."
Even though the '05 White Sox built a commanding lead, they were glad to have those early wins when their 15-game lead on Aug. 1 dwindled to 1 1/2 games by the third week of September. They managed to hold on to win the division, though.
"If you get off to a good start, you don't ever coast," Gload said. "But it's better than getting off to a slow start and coming back the whole season."