OSI Heat Index - June 13th
Welcome to OSI Heat Index, a weekly look at local teams and assignment of a “temperature reading” based on the past week’s performance.
For instance, a temperature reading of “1” would be ice cold, while “10” would be scorching hot.
Omaha Storm Chasers
Heat Index: 1
The frigid summer continues for the Chasers. Omaha has now lost six in a row, and are winners of just four of their last 20 games. Even by baseball standards, that’s just about as cold as it can get. The Chasers continue to deal with roster turnover, and now find themselves in the middle of their longest road trip since the move to Werner Park (12 games).
There’s a myriad of issues haunting this team, but in the most recent four game series against Nashville, the Chasers scored just nine runs over four games, including four on Sunday in a 6-4 loss.
I’m sure Manager Brian Poldberg is trying just about everything to break the current slump. Sometimes you just have to weather the storm and wait for some things to break your way.
Kansas City Royals
Heat Index: 4
Since the calendar turned to June, Kansas City has won just 3 of 11 games. However, following an eight game skid, KC rallied to win their weekend series against the White Sox with victories on both Saturday and Sunday.
Prior to this past weekend, the offense had been completely dormant for the Royals, averaging under two runs per game during their eight game losing streak. The bats seem to have woken up a bit in Chicago, as KC managed 12 runs in the three game set against the White Sox.
I’m not thrilled about the way this team is currently built - I think they need to add an arm to bolster the starting rotation before the deadline, and figure out how to keep Yordano Ventura from hitting people - but they’re just three games back in the AL Central and very much a part of the race.
Heat Index: 9
There’s plenty of Cubs fans in Omaha, right?
Curse of the Billy Goat and cautious optimism aside, there’s not much bad to say about this Cubs team. They can hit. They can pitch. They’ve got the best manager for an up-and-coming team in baseball (perhaps in baseball history). And as we sit on June 13th, they’ve nearly got the NL Central wrapped up.
Cubs fans won’t want to hear it, but as of right now, Chicago is the clear favorite to win the World Series. It’s still a long season, and a lot can happen, but this will be the Cubs’ best shot in years to finally break their hundred-plus year drought.
United States Men’s National Team (USMNT)
Heat Index: 8
Alright, so it may not be exclusively “local,” but since Omaha falls into the subset of “United States of America,” we’ll go ahead and count it.
The Yanks did exactly what they needed to in the group stage of the Copa America Centenario, winning two out of three games and advancing to the knockout round. In fact, with a little help from Costa Rica, the USA actually ended up winning Group A, and will face Ecuador Thursday night in the Round of 8.
While it wasn’t a great opening match, games two and three played out much better with the USA becoming much more aggressive on offense, and solidifying the back end en route to giving up zero goals against Costa Rica and Paraguay.
It’s been a breakout tournament for center back John Brooks, who had one of the finest performances in recent memory for any American player. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan has also shown why he earned the starting nod over World Cup hero Tim Howard in net.
Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, constantly the target of fan and media criticism (much of it justified), seems to have found something this tournament. Not only has he done enough to save his job, but fans should be excited about the future of this team under Klinsmann, provided things continue to trend this direction.
The US looks energized, organized, and might have a few more matches in them before they bow out. I wouldn’t be surprised if the US is playing in the semifinal round next week.