You know what you learn from the first two weeks of baseball? Nothing. The first month, two even for that matter. The first two weeks are like extended spring training where pitchers and hitters play with each other in full game action without any short limits on pitch counts and can go full speed. All these two weeks are, are just like the opening night of your favorite play: they’ve rehearsed, dry runs and costume designs, or redesigns (love the Tampa Bay blue unis) and now let’s put it all together in front of a nice crow.
So naturally there are going to be some bumps, bruises and miscues as the show goes along. Just keep this in perspective baseball fans… THERE ARE 162 GAMES IN A SEASON!!! DON’T CRY ABOUT YOUR TEAM SUCKING WHEN NOT EVEN 10% OF THE SEASON IS IN THE BOOKS!!!
This isn’t the NFL were having two bad weeks of football could kill you by week 17, its ok that Mark Teixeira is hitting .114, its ok that the White Sox are having troubles hitting the ball, or that Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Webb on the DL. We haven’t even hit interleague yet.
Here are some early season trends that will continue, will come to a halt soon, or if they’re not fixed could mean trouble down the line:
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankess: .114/1/6. Tex is a slow starter by nature, last year he didn’t hit his first home run of the season until his 58th at-bat, he finished with a league leading 39. The Yanks have jumped out to a fast start thanks to great starting pitching (no not you Javy Vazquez) and timely hitting from 5th in the order down. Tex normally heat up in late May so keep your shirt on.
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers: .244/0/3 15 strikeouts. This is a guy that’s averaged 40 homeruns and 120 RBI in the last 3 seasons establishing him as one of the premier first basemen in the game. What’s disturbing is his strikeout total. He’s on pace for over 200 K’s this year and he’s never had 140. A visit from the pitching inept Pirates should start to get him going.
The Boston Red Sox: 4-9, 4.65 Team ERA. Their lead hitter is Jason Varitek, every starter has an ERA of more than 4 except Clay Buckholz, Kevin Youkilis is hitting .211 after a brilliant opening game against the Yankees and David Ortiz is still ready to set Boston reporters on fire… as much as I want this to continue it won’t. Youkilis is one of the best hitters in the game, but he has no protection in the lineup with Ortiz struggling early behind him and Victor Martinez hitting .208 in front of him. it would also be of help if Jacoby Ellsbury would get out of his personal funk and become the threat on the base pads that he was last year, he has only two swipes so far this year. The rotation is a different story. Dice K’s shoulder still isn’t responding properly and Time Wakefield, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and newcomer John Lack have been awful. Lackey’s bomb on Monday against Tampa was the latest shelling suffered by the starting rotation. They have the best bullpen in the game, but it means nothing if the rotation can’t get their stuff right and give the pen the support they need. I think the Red Sox will get it together, but with the way that the Yankees and Rays have jumped out, it might be a little hard to come back if this is still the case in May.
New York Mets: 5-8. David Wright is struggling, again. Jose Reyes can’t hit, and Johan Santana is struggling. The papers in New York are calling for phenom Ike Davis to come up and bring some thunder to the struggling lineup. They need Crash Davis and Ike Turner at this point. I knew the Mets weren’t going to be good, but they may be worse than I thought.
Jason Hayward, Atlanta Braves: .302/3/15. He’s been better than advertized in Atlanta thus far from the opening day homer to the game winning hit on Sunday. However, he is a rookie, he will hit a wall and his average and production will dip. His strikeout total will continue to rise.
Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants: 2-0, 1.86 ERA, 0.88 WHIP. Zito looks like the guy from his Cy Young winning days in Oakland. A bust in his first two years in San Fran Zito has looked like an ace again going 6 innings in each of his first three starts. I don’t think he’ll keep up at this pace all year but he certainly won’t be the bust that he’s been the last two seasons.
Houston Astros offense: .233/2/12. You think they need Lance Berkman? Carlos Lee is batting .104 in the early going. Team that with an already erratic staff and you see why they’re in last place in the Central, and will stay there.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: 3-0, 1.12 ERA 21 K’s. yeah, like you didn’t expect that to happen.
Josh Willingham, Washington Nationals: .359/3/10 .692 slugging. He’s making Nats fans forget that Adam Dunn is… well… done. His power numbers aren’t a surprise because he was a big bopper in Florida. His average is shocking as he’s never hit more that. 277. His average will drop but he should go for 30/100 this year.
Chicago White Sox: where do we start? They’re 5-9, no one has a batting average over .260, Jake Peavy is struggling, so is Gavin Floyd, they are last in the majors in hitting and run production and Mark Buerhle is the only thing going good for them pitching wise. They sit in last place currently, yes the Royals are Hitting, pitching and playing better than them. While I don’t think it will continue, you have to wonder if the Chisox are capable of pulling themselves out of this mess. The leadership of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye is missing and nothing that Ozzie Guillen is doing thus far seems to be working. Hopefully they get better, but who knows.
Ok, there. There are a few things to digest early in the season. Some guys are hot and get cold and vice versa, unless you’re the Mets, they’re already done. Just keep this in perspective, its April there is time for change. However, early bad habits do have lingering effects.