All around the world…

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers the past couple of days and have the tune stuck in my head, but looking at the first month of the 2008 season has got me shaking my head. It’s been a weird month all over, from the Atlanta Braves that I see on a nightly basis to MLB as a whole.

There has been no shortage of stories, injuries, hot starts, cold streaks and even a little bad blood that sums up the on field and off-field product. Here are a half a dozen things that have caught my attention, arranged in no particular order.

Slumping stars:

Some of the games best players and most talented young stars are all suffering through some pretty rough starts. I could spend a whole bunch of words and more of your time than necessary to describe these struggles… or I could simply give you a chart that demonstrates my point. Thus, here you go: 

Player Name

AVG

HR

RBI

R

OPS

Ichiro Suzuki

.257

2

8

19

.695

David Ortiz

.177

4

20

15

.611

Ryan Howard

.174

5

11

13

.659

Jose Reyes

.237

2

9

13

.664

Alfonso Soriano

.175

2

5

7

.528

Gary Sheffield

.159

1

3

7

.575

Carlos Beltran

.224

2

13

17

.771

Andruw Jones

.159

1

4

11

.522

Travis Hafner

.219

3

15

12

.667

Prince Fielder

.244

4

18

14

.818

Robinson Cano

.153

1

5

5

.431

Troy Tulowitzki

.152

1

11

10

.464

(Stats through Monday April 28).

What’s worse is that I haven’t even taken a look at the pitchers who are off to rough starts. Let’s save those for another time. There is alot of baseball left to be played.

The Three-way tie for AL East Lead

Ok, so the Red Sox are pacing the AL East. No surprise right? Wrong. They happen to be tied with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles… Say what? I know it’s only one month and that does not a season make, but I would love to know the last time that the Orioles were pacing the East and I would really like to know if the Rays have ever been in front after a full month? Things to ponder and Google.

Barry Zito breaking the bank in the bullpen

So I said “later” to addressing the struggling pitchers. Later is now.

It’s not that Barry Zito‘s Cy Young season and the strong start his career got off to did not warrant the contract he recieved from the Giants. Really, big contracts are just a part of sports today, and more power to those who receive them. Zito has been horrendous since moving across the bay, however. His 0-6 start and his drop in velocity, not to mention his command issues, have all combined to give the Giants a rather pricey lefty reliever.

Zito’s numbers with the Giants, for those interested.

W

L

ERA

GS

CG

IP

ER

H

HR

BB

K

WHIP

11

19

4.91

39

0

225.1

123

223

28

98

142

1.43

Let’s hope he gets it figured out, for his sake and the Giants.

Chipper Jones’ torrid start at the plate

“The reports of my demise have been greatly exagerated.” — Mark Twain, 1897

Ditto for Chipper Jones after his 2007 campaign. Injuries sapped the slugging third baseman’s ability to put up the numbers that earn MVP awards, All-Star nods and Silver Sluggers, but Chipper announced himself healthy in a big way when he nearly won a batting title (.337) and lead the Majors in OPS (1.029). How about 75 extra base hits in 134 games and what should have been his first Rawlings Gold Glove award? That too.

This season, Chipper has taken it to a whole new level. He is pacing the Big Leagues in batting average (.410) and is right up there with eight homers and 20 RBI after the first month. Some nagging injuries have popped up, but Chipper Jones in the lynchpin of the Braves offense. A healthy and productive season will be one of the main reasons that Atlanta contends in the National League East.

Roy Halladay, master of the CG

There could come a day where the complete game (or CG) could go the way of the GW-RBI (that’s game winning RBI for those curious) stat category. That is, they count them, but they don’t really count for anything anymore. No longer an official statistic since 1989.

Maybe that won’t happen, but you just don’t find many pitchers that go all nine these days. There are match-ups to follow and relief speacialists that get the call in seemingly every situation for every manager now. It’s all about lefty vs. lefty and righty vs. righty. How about if a team finds relievers that just pitch well. And you give them the ball. And they throw an entire inning. And the world doesn’t come to an end. It could work, but forget it. I’m old fashioned I guess.

It’s become the industry standard as starting pitchers seem to last fewer and fewer innings per start each year. Roy Halladay is the clear exception to the rule. His eight and two third inning complete game effort in a 1-0 Toronto loss at Fenway Park on Tuesday was his fourth of the season. No other pitcher has thrown more than one. Call it a random tangent on my part, but it’s nice to see a pitcher start and finish the game on a semi-regular basis.

And finally, I saved the best for last…. Nick Johnson’s mustache

Nick_Johnson.JPGThis may truly be one of baseball’s great mysteries. I mean, why? I don’t care who you are, that is just a bad look. My only regret is that I cannot find a picture that can properly demonstrate the pure 70’s cheesiness of Johnson’s ‘stache.

And that is all I have for you, my readers.

 

Till Next time,

G-Mc 

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