Monday, April 09, 2007


There's no better sight in the entire universe than Sidney Ponson standing on the mound, playing for the opposition. The Aurora Borealis, the Majestic Sombrero Galaxy, Gas Pillars in the Eagle Nebulae, and Sir Sidney Ponson. Of course, the opposite is true if he happens to be wearing your team's colors, as we all know from firsthand experience. That is more like Clockwork Orange aversion therapy.

I didn't write after the finale of the Orioles series. I had it in mind to write something about how Giambi and A-Rod's 8th and 9th inning fireworks were the only thing standing in the way of a 1-4 record, but I didn't really have anything else to add to that sentiment. Darrell Rasner was no better and no worse than what we've seen so far from Mussina, Pettitte, and Igawa. It didn't seem fair to lay it on him, when the entire staff was falling apart at the seams. I left it alone.

You have to know that the Yankees will eventually string together a bunch of strong pitching performances to go with their insane offense. Pavano doesn't strike anyone out, which may be a problem on some days, but he pitched as well as you could ask against the Twins. Seriously, he deserves a ton of credit for that performance. Ponson, on the other hand, not so much. Why do people keep giving him a contract? One day, just for fun, I'd like to see some floundering franchise say, "Screw it." I'd like to see that franchise sign Sidney Ponson, Jose Lima, Scott Erickson, Joel Pineiro, and Jeff Weaver as the starting 5. Why not?

As I look at the boxscore of that game, I notice that the lineup has the following batting averages to this point in 2007:

Damon (.556)
Jeter (.346)
Abreu (.348)
Rodriguez (.360)
Giambi (.174)
Posada (.364)
Cano (.296)
Mientkiewicz (.231)
Cabrera (.095)

Now, you have to factor in Matsui's absence when you talk about the lineup, but he's only at .250 after 4 games. The Bombers offense has scored 44 runs in 6 games, which is a shade over 7 per contest. There is no reason why this team can't score at this pace all season in my opinion, although that would set some kind of record. 7 runs a game over 162 equals 1,134, and the all time mark is 1,221 by the 1894 Boston Beaneaters in 132 games(9.2 runs per game). The AL mark is 1,067 by the 1931 Yankees over 154(6.9 runs per game). It may be super optimistic, early season, Yankee-colored glasses perspective on this roster, but I'll lay it out there in early April on the off chance I'm right and we're closing in on the AL record in September.

Last thing today. A-Rod is laying the foundation for another MVP season. I'm not saying that with any sense of inevitability, as we're only 6 games in and there's a lot of baseball left to be played. It's still snowing in the midwest. If there's anything that baseball teaches you over the years it's the fact that over a long season you might see a lot of things that aren't what they appear. Chris Shelton's start last season is perfect evidence of that. Players regress to the mean, almost without fail. A-Rod's mean is very high. If he ends with the numbers he put up last season, he will have been a major success by any reasonable evaluation of his performance. The thing is, if last year was somehow his current mean, and he's playing that much higher than his 50th percentile output, it stands to reason that one of the best players in the game may be looking at a season in the upper tier of his performance expectations. A hot start for A-Rod would go a long way to laying a solid foundation for an MVP run. If he plays this hot for April and into May, he can regress to the mean and still end up with 50 home runs and a boatload of RBIs.

I'm being optimistic, but a lot of people saw this coming, I think, and it's been a fun start to a season for THE THIRD BASEMAN!!! Albert Pujols started 2006 like this and it was only a series of nagging injuries that robbed him of a historic season. If A-Rod can go another month on fire, we'll be anticipating something similar...


Chris V said...

Wouldn't it be great to see him hit 61? Roger Maris was treated like garbage, too. It'd be fun.*

*to see Arod hit 61, not to treat him like garbage

mehmattski said...

It is true that Maris still holds the AL single-season home-run record:

Maris 61 1961
Ruth 60 1927
Ruth 59 1921
Foxx 58 1932
Greenberg 58 1938
A-Rod 57 2002
Griffey Jr 56 1997
Griffey Jr 56 1996

Kind of amazing, when you think about the power surge of the 1990s.

singlessss said...

Well... if you think 2006 was ARods 'mean', that means he typically presses, tries to pull everything, and hits more than 1/2 his HRs to left field.

Last year, ARod had mechanical problems with his swing.

He's hit 5 HRs so far. How many were to the left of left-center?
What we are seeing NOW is how ARod bats. No, he might not break Maris's record, but what we have seen so far is much more 'typical' ARod, then what we saw last year.

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