So maybe I owe Sidney Ponson an ap-- an apol-- nope, can't make myself write it. But to be fair, I might've been a little hard on Sir Sidney. After all, I've been mocking Ponson ever since the Rangers released him (or, okay, technically, I've been mocking him since about 2005), but he's managed to be mostly on the right side of mediocre for the Yankees this year, and that's a lot more than I expected. He was solid again last night as the Yankees beat the Rangers 5-3.
With that said... we all know Ponson's been lucky this year, but did you know just how lucky? Really, really lucky: Ponson has gotten more run support than any other Major Leaguer with 60+ innings pitched this season, 7.34 runs per game. There's really no such thing as karma, is there?
Anyway, when Ponson loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning last night, I suspect I wasn't alone in assuming an implosion was imminent. Two runs scored on Chris Davis' single, but with two outs, David Murphy tried to score on an Ian Kinsler singler and was called out at home thanks to a vintage block by Pudge Rodriguez. Catchers block home plate all the time, of course, but Rodriguez really BLOCKED home plate, setting up several feet in front of it just as the ball arrived, and he took the full brunt of Murphy's weight. Both players lay stunned for a couple of minutes; Murphy was pulled an inning later, while Rodriguez came out immediately with a bruised knee.
It's tempting to say that play sparked the Yanks' offense, but who knows? In any case, they did take the lead in the next inning, when Cano and Jose Molina both singled, Wilson Betemit doubled, Johnny Damon managed an RBI groundout, and Jeter knocked in Betemit. As for the rest of the scoring, Giambi homered in the fourth, his 22nd of the year, and Derek Jeter doubled home Johnny Damon in the fifth. Ponson allowed a third run on a Michael Young solo shot, but that would be it for the Rangers, who were subsequently shut down by Edwar Ramirez, Damaso Marte, Jose Veras, and Mo.
For Texas, the highlight of the late innings was the fabulously named (and coifed) Warner Madrigal. Sounds like a medieval German chamber music piece, but looks like C.C. Sabathia got caught inside an intrinsic field experiment test chamber with Oscar Gamble.
Speaking of great names, I'll leave you with this fun fact: Sidney Ponson is the cousin of pitcher Radhames Dykhoff. I can't believe I didn't know that.