The euphoria of the fortuitous first two weeks has worn off and the M's returned to earth. Which is more comfortable for us beat-down M's fans, who are like the opposite of the Greatest American Hero: we know how to land, we just don't know how to fly. Perhaps we should take lessons from R. Kelly (free, all ages, don't wear anything you don't want to get wet).
Anyhow, it's clear that this team can't hit and that Yuniesky Betancourt can't hit or field. (Whether that means he should sit is up for debate.) Meanwhile, despite the back-to-reality crash, the M's find themselves in the lead of the early-developing AL West pennant race simply by virtue of the general weakness of the A's and Rangers and the awful luck of the Angels, who just lost a promising young pitcher for life and their best hitter for two months.
Therein lies the danger. In 2007, the M's faced a similar scenario. For no good reason, the team was in the pennant race, and management pretended it was two sniffs away from a World Series, rolling out Jose Vidro over Adam Jones and then in the off-season trading Jones for Erik Bedard, the ace to get the team over the top. Except the 2008 team didn't amount to constipation, as K'Naan would say, and while Bedard looks good this year, Jones is tearing it up at the age of 23. (Similarly, pitching super-prospect Chris Tillman--whom the M's also included in the deal--is making quick work of the minor leagues.)
So far, so good on the Zduriencik era, as Jack seems disinclined to make the "I can't turn down this one-time, limited offer/Hell, yeah, I want a Snuggie!/Can I buy that on credit?" deals that were the foundation of the Bavasi era. But the real test will be when August rolls around and the M's are knocking on the playoff door with a team that would be last in some divisions. Here's hoping Jack can learn the lessons of the gambler that preceded him and not overplay his hand at the first sight of a big pot.