Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Settling Into the Season... What Have We Learned?

Everyone has played at home at least once except the Yankees, so now's the time when you start to see how the season is shaking out. Gone are the days of .750 batting averages and an 800 RBI pace. Here's what we've learned (or confirmed) so far...

- Roy Halladay in the National League has been as advertised. Two games, 16 innings, 13 hits, 17 strikeouts, one earned run.

- I'm really trying not to sound like a homer here, but when you play the Phillies your starter better throw seven good innings, or you're going to have a lot of problems. The lineup is too tough on good starters anyway, and they are going to down right abuse middle relievers.

- Ahh, but all is not perfect in Phillie land. Cole Hamels is still scuffling a bit to find his form, and Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins left Monday's home opener with injuries. Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero and Joe Blanton already started the year on the DL with an assortment of maladies.

- So far so good with Ryan Madson in the closer's spot.

- Jose Contreras still has great stuff. All 17 of his pitches.

- Placido Polanco appears to be a perfect fit in the two spot for the Phils. Shane Victorino has had a rougher go moving to number seven, hitting only .161 in the early-going.

-The Phils offense will be especially tough to stop if Jimmy Rollins keeps the plate discipline he's shown early in the year. And if his MRI scheduled for today has good news.

- Troy Glaus doesn't look great with a bat or a glove in his hand.

- Mike Gonzalez blew two saves by the end of the day Friday. Sheesh.

- Curtis Granderson has hit some long home runs so far, but he still can't hit lefthanded pitching. The Yankees will miss Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui more than most people realize this year.

- Joba Chamberlain's biggest problem is that he's just not that good. We don't need to analyze his psyche as a starter or as a reliever or anything else. He's just not that good. That's it.

- Scott Rolen looks rejuvenated so far. Maybe he's finally healthy.

- Tim Lincecum is just fun to watch pitch.

- Who's that hitting .407 with five home runs in seven games? Albert Pujols. He's a decent player.

- Yawn. In other news, sun to rise in east tomorrow.

- The Dodgers losing two of three to start the season in Pittsburgh can't be a great first step.

- I read predictions, apparently from real humans, that have the Mets winning the NL East. This year. After six games, Gary Matthews is hitting .143, Alex Cora .200 (which is better than Luis Castillo), Rod Barajas .238 and Mike Jacobs .133. Oliver Perez has an ERA north of a touchdown, and Mike Pelfrey has an ERA north of a touchdown WITH the extra point. I know it's only six games, but let me know how those Mets in the playoff predictions are working out for you in September.

- The Astros stink. Their lineup has about three legitimate everyday players in it right now. I know Lance Berkman is out, but it's a brutal run outside of Michael Bourn, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence. If you're a pitcher and you let Lee or Pence beat you, you're a dope.

- I'm not a fan of umpires injecting themselves in a story, and I'm not a fan of Joe West at all, but he's right about the Red Sox and the Yankees wasting too much time. Tom Verducci is also right that it's not the length, but the pace of the games that is the real problem. I'm all for calling an automatic ball or strike on a player taking too long. I'm also all for an umpire telling Jorge Posada "You won't go out to the mound again if you know what's good for you" and then calling pitches right down the middle balls if he fails to oblige. Come on, seriously, Posada went to the mound eight times in one inning in last year's playoffs? That's time wasting at best, bush league at worst.

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