Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big Busts

Okay, so maybe the title is a shameless attempt to lure internet surfers, but it actually refers to a number of top line players who have yet to begin earning their big pay checks, players whose teams are counting on them to carry a significant portion of the load this year.

Let's begin with Alfonso Soriano, who must produce in the heart of the Cubs' order. Even with two hits on Monday he is still 6 for 27 for a .222 average and he has no home runs and no runs batted in. Matt Kemp bats third for the Dodgers and is 2 for 20 (.100) with no home runs and two runs batted in. 

Ryan Howard struck out three times on Sunday.
Marco Scutaro, who bats second for the Giants, is a dismal 3 for 27, .111, with – you guessed it – no home runs and no runs batted in. Phillie slugger Ryan Howard was, 7, 16, .322 in Spring Training, but he's 4 for 27 with no home runs and four RBIs. And the Cardinals are hoping for more from Carlos Beltran, who is just 4 for 21, with no dingers yet. 

As for the American League, Carlos Pena is one of the few bright lights in Houston's dim batting order. He's now 3 for 19, .158 with no home runs and no runs batted in. The Astros, who seemed World Series bound after leading the majors with a 1-0 record, are now, predictably, 1-5.

Tiger DH Victor Martinez, who looked so promising in Spring Training, is now 3 for 21, .143 with no home runs and one measly run batted in. He's hitting behind three great sluggers. Torii Hunter is hitting.393, Miguel Cabrera is batting .304 (though he has not homered yet), and Prince Fielder is .261 with eight RBIs. Imagine how well they'd be doing if Martinez was getting more hits.

Before I move on, I want to mention a very interesting stat I heard on Sunday's Yankees vs. Tigers broadcast. At the start of the game Cabrera was batting .368 for his career against the Yankees. Of all players with at least 150 at bats against the Bronx Bombers (who have few bombers in their order right now) only two guys had better averages – a couple of nobodies named Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Can Jay-Z get Robbie that $125 million deal?
The Yankees have two stars off to lousy starts, which they can ill afford given injuries to Jeter, Granderson, and Teixeira. Ichiro Suzuki, usually a base hit machine, was 2-18, .111 after the weekend, but got two hits in the Yankees' 11-6 win over the Indians Monday night. Robinson Cano, who recently – and interestingly – abandoned super sports agent Scott Boras for hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, may also need a new swing after being so awful in the playoffs last year. He was 3 for 23, .130 with no home runs and no runs batted in before getting three hits last night. Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner is batting .167.

The Blue Jays have two struggling stars. Edwin Encarnacion is 2-23, .087 with one home run. At least he has three runs batted in. So far this season Melky Cabrera without the juice is like a Sunkist orange – or a guy after a vasectomy – "all juice and no seeds". He is 4-24, .167 with no home runs and no runs batted in.

Ranger fans let Hamilton have it after another strikeout. 
Getting a whole lot of attention for his bad start is Josh Hamilton. On Friday night in the Rangers' home opener (how ironic that they should open against Hamilton's new team) he was greeted by a huge chorus of boos. He did the opposite of silencing the crowd, going  0-4 and dropping his average to a microscopic .050. To make matters worse, his wife had to ask for help from security because she was being insulted and sworn at .in the stands (their kids were with her).

Hamilton left six runners on base, though Pujols and Trumbo provided enough power to salvage a game out of the series. "If I was somewhere else the same thing would be going on. It'll get better", said Hamilton, who got three hits on Sunday. (That was after he'd grounded out with the bases loaded in the first inning.) The Angels lost again. Hamilton is now up (?) to 4-25, .160, with no homers and two runs batted in. Is that what $125 million gets you these days?

Halladay has not gotten past the fifth inning yet.
Roy Halladay, about whose troubles Rick wrote very poignantly in his last entry, is now 0-2 and has the worst ERA in baseball, an ungodly 14.73. On Monday, with little speed or control,  he was hammered by the Mets. "When you're trying to find something, the more you're grasping at it, the more you're reaching for it, the more you're trying to find it, the harder it is to get," said a candid and reflective Halladay after the Mets' pounding.

"You really have to stick to your routine, stick to your program, prepare every day and let it come to you." Cole Hammels is also off to an awful start, 0-2 after allowing 16 hits, four home runs, and five walks in 10.2 innings for a 10.97 ERA.

Over in the American League David Price is struggling. He's 0-1 with 17 hits in 11 innings. His ERA is 8.18. Jared Weaver is also 0-1, with a 4.91 ERA. 

Ya got give those web surfers somethin'.
Then there is Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey. J.P. Arencibia may be having a hard time catching Dickey's knuckleball, but it doesn't seem to be messing up hitters very much. He's been shelled in both of his starts and is now 0-2, allowing 15 hits and three home runs in 10.2 innings. He was booed at the Rogers Centre on Sunday after giving up five straight hits including a home run. The Jays need Dickey to start getting people out if they are to begin their march to the post season. Say, I sure hope you guys enjoyed reading about these big busts.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

Will, Marco Scutaro is not expected to hit home runs, batting second, you wouldn't expect he’d have many chances for RBIs – not that he’d get many with a batting average that low.

As for poignant, I specialize in poignancy. I also do terrific paintings on velvet of children with big eyes. I’d be happy to post several hundred photos of my work instead of my unusually poignant writing if there are enough requests from readers.