158 - That's the Magic Number
If you think that's early, imagine my surprise as I watched Prime Time Sports Friday afternoon, and heard Bob McCown's roundtable conclude that the Blue Jays aren't going anywhere this year thanks to the unlimited pockets of the Yankees and Red Sox and a bad outing by A.J. Burnett.
McCown makes for good radio, but the extent of his baseball analysis is essentially "Things were better when Pat Gillick was here." The old canard about Burnett being a ".500 pitcher" surfaced again - won-loss record being the single best measure of a pitcher's ability, after all. Imagine how hard talk radio hosts would have been on the Yankees acquisition of Red Ruffing back in 1930. Here was a guy who was 39-96 at the time, though it doesn't mention that on his Hall of Fame plaque...
By Friday we had B.J. Ryan's first blown save of the season. Bet Ricciardi was happy this didn't happen this time last year: a Burnett drubbing and Ryan blown save within the season's first three games. "Field Day" doesn't begin to describe what the media's reaction to that would've been. Both Ryan and the Jays got back on the beam, and at 3-2, the Jays come home with a share of first place in the East.
Other observations from the first week of baseball:
- Boston's $100 million acquisition of Daisuke Matsuzaka is being heralded as a bargain, following his dominant performance against the Royals. 7 innings, 1 ER and 10 Ks is certainly a stunning debut. Kind of reminded me of another highly touted Japanese import who received a standing ovation following his own very impressive debut.
Not that Matsuzaka is going to end up as a Seinfeld punchline, but let's let him navigate through the league at least once before engraving the Cy Young.
- Frank Thomas is a very strong man.
- The Yankees are going to be involved in lots of 10-8, 9-7 type games this season. Money can paper over a lot of weaknesses mid-season, but a lack of quality starting pitchers isn't one of them. Alex Rodriguez might have to hit about 95 home runs for this team to win big.
- Alex Rodriguez may well hit 95 home runs.
- It's fashionable to refer to the Texas Rangers as having a juggernaut offense, but after Mark Teixeira and Michael Young, there's just a lot of age and uncertainty.
Bring on the Royals.