Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why do we need 162 games when one is more than enough?

We are officially one day into the MLB season and you know what that means -- everything we need to know, we know already. Nothing will change. Let's play the World Series now and get ready for the NFL draft.

I'm kidding, of course. It really takes about a month before we know the Cy Young, MVP, best teams and division winners.

But two things are 100% fact -- Careston Charles Sabathia is an awful pitcher and the Phillies will go 0-162.

We're going double-whammy today in honor of baseball season. Heyman, Verducci -- you're on.

CC Sabathia heaved his white towel toward the bin in the middle of the visiting clubhouse after the $210 million Yankees dropped their well-anticipated opener to the Orioles -- and he missed the bin, too. Sabathia was a little off with his control in his dreadful Yankees debut -- like maybe a zip code or two off.

How long do you think it took Heyman to come up with these jokes? One hour? Two? Five seconds? Better question: which answer is more pathetic?

"Today, I didn't do my job,'' said Sabathia, whose ugly pitching line included eight hits, six earned runs and five walks, including four unintentional. "I'll go out in five games, and try to get it done.''

After a performance such as this, that sounded as much a threat as a promise. All spring, the Yankees talked about how great their pitching is, and how great they felt about this team, and also how much of that good feeling is attributable to the presence of their new $161 million pitcher.

Cut your losses now. Nothing is worth this level of embarassment.

But on this day, CC was a mess. He wore a heating pad in the dugout he said to keep warm -- though it wasn't an especially chilly day (56 degrees).

Coward. Jeter would never keep warm. Did you see that flip against Oakland? Soooooo sick.

Sabathia, who may feel slightly better knowing he stunk early last year, positing a 7.87 ERA through April, 2008, chalked it all up to not being able to locate his fastball. But total truth be told, he didn't throw it all that hard, either. According to the scoreboard, he pitched at around 92-93 mph. Posada said it was 94-95. But in any case, it didn't overpower a soul.

Gotta love hiding a totally article undermining fact in a paragraph that evokes Posada's human radar gun capabilities.

Let's look at those starts from early '08:

Mar 31 -- 5.1 IP/6 H/5 ER/3 BB/7 K
Apr 5 -- 5.1 IP/6 H/4 ER/4 BB/2 K
Apr 11 -- 3.1 IP/12 H/9 ER/2 BB/4 K
Apr 16 -- 4 IP/ 8 H/9 ER/ 5 BB/ 1 K

Lesson: be happy you got off with 4+ innings and less than nine earned runs.

After the buildup, the whole thing was such a letdown.

A buildup created by you guys, the media, saying he was Sandy Fucking Koufax for the last third of the 2008 season.

And Teixeira pleased them by doing nothing, by going 0-for-4 with a walk, and by grounding out with the tying run at third base in the eighth inning.

"I didn't get it done today,'' Teixeira said.

That makes two of 'em. Between Sabathia and Teixeira, the Yankees got zero return on their $341 million investment.

And will continue to when Tex goes 0-630 with 162 walks and CC goes 0-31.


Of course, no one dares to write off a rugged Phillies team on the basis of one game, other than maybe the few fans who booed Myers and Ibanez.

And dumbass sports writers who make accusations based on 0.6% of the baseball season.

Indeed, the Phillies have turned slow starts into their own Philly tradition, having begun the previous three seasons 24-22, 26-28 and 24-24. Wake them up when it's June.

Article over. Well, done Verducci. Wait, there's like 250 more words here...


But there was something specific about how Philadelphia faded out on Day One that bears watching. Manuel chose to bat left-handers Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez in succession in the middle of the order,

Also known as two of his three best hitters.

thus handing opposing managers a room-service invitation to clamp down a game with one decent left-handed reliever -- a reliever such as the Braves' Mike Gonzalez.

I am not going to give Manuel this much credit, mainly because I think he played with Abner Doubleday, but is there a slight, small, miniscule chance Manuel thought, "You know what, Utley and Howard are fucking awesome at baseball, who cares what handedness they are, I am batting them 3-4."

I think it's dumb that Jayson Werth bats second (should be sixth) and Rollins leadoff (should be second) when Shane Victorino is batting sixth (should be leadoff), but that's just me.

Also, it's not like Mike Gonzalez is killing these guys.

Howard -- 1/7 with a homer, career .231 versus LHP
Utley -- 2/5 with a double, career .280 versus LHP
Ibanez -- never faced, career .268 versus LHP

After Utley walked in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, Howard whiffed and Ibanez did likewise. Somewhere Pat Burrell was smiling.

I just love when things come together.

Smiling Pat Burrell:
o-5, 4 K versus Gonzalez, career .276 versus LHP

"We've played one game, man," Manuel said. "What would you suggest?"

Translation: "Fuck off, Verducci."

Well, here's an idea, now that $31.5 million already has been spent on a soon-to-be 37-year-old left-handed hitter who has never played in a playoff game: Put Shane Victorino or Jayson Werth between Howard and Ibanez, with the other of the two hitting second.

So Victorino, with his 34 career homers, now protects Ryan Howard? Get ready to see four wide ones, Ryan. Or how about Werth, with his career-high 418 ABs (and 24 homers in '08), 29 years on this Earth and never being an everyday player?

At least Ibanez has gone 20+ homers for four straight seasons of more than 600 ABs.

Oh, and fuck "never played in a playoff game."

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