Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
To Sir, With Slowly Lessening Distrust
2008-08-07 00:43
by Emma Span

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.

2008-08-07 06:20:53
1.   Cliff Corcoran
I've been mocking Ponson as long as you have, Emma, but much to my surprise, his just-above-mediocre performance this season hasn't been luck. Yes, his run support has inflated his record, but He has a .313 BABIP and is getting the job done legitimately with a spike in his groundball rate. If you compare his groundball rate to his performance on a start-by-start basis, the only time he's really been lucky as a Yankee this year was in his penultimate start against the Angels, but that is balanced out by a start against the Rays while still a Ranger which went the opposite way.
2008-08-07 06:57:13
2.   Felix Heredia
It's Sir Sidney Alton Ponson's world, we just live in it.

Getting a lot of run support does involve karma. Boomer used to get the most, and Moose typically gets the least. I'm not sure there's a statistical explanation, except that some pitchers take too long and put their team to sleep, while others work fast or pitch to contact and get their team involved. I wonder whether personality doesn't affect it - Moose is a picky curmudgeon (not inspiring) and Boomer and Sir Sidney Alton Ponson are loud and fat (let's rock!).

2008-08-07 07:06:12
3.   ms october
0 emma you got all the way to a-p-o-l, which is quite a feat

it's ceratinly been a freaking adeventure nearly everytime he takes the mound.

cliff probably has the most sound explanation with the groundball rate 1 ;
and certainly there is probably something to be said for the fun times with sir sidney leading to more run support 2 ; but don't overlook that today our man moose has the chance for win number 15, which means the candy would be back - do you think snacks would get his fat ass dfa'd before that happened?

2008-08-07 07:12:00
4.   unmoderated
apologize? NEVER!

that said, what a great baseball play at the plate last night. not really liking murphy or pudge, I had no problem watching the whack and slow roll. As much as I love Jorgie, I've only seen him block the plate like that once.

2008-08-07 07:50:16
5.   Schteeve
From what I've seen of Ponson the thing he does that really helps is he keeps the ball in the park.
2008-08-07 07:59:24
6.   tommyl
With Ponson, every time he's near disaster I expect him to somehow wriggle out of it with some freakish, lucky play (like the Pudge collision or a linedrive DP). He seems to always get those, but I think its just my eyes. Cliff is right, his groundball rates are actually encouraging. Ok guys, so if on opening day I told you this:

By August, the team would be without Wang, Matsui, Posada, Joba, Kennedy and Hughes. The first three or four likely out for the season. Then I told you A-Rod missed almost 6 weeks, Jeter and Damon were hurt for shorter periods and Melky was OBPing less than .300. Then I said that Sidney Ponson was our #3 starter, who would have said we'd even be sniffing the wild card? I have to applaud Girardi for patching holes here. This team has no business contending.

2008-08-07 08:07:42
7.   cult of basebaal
0 my line from last night's thread is that madrigal looked like the bastard love child of jack black, shrek and oscar gamble's afro ...
2008-08-07 10:44:14
8.   Schteeve
And that Cano has played like Tony Womack all season. Don't forget that.
2008-08-07 10:59:19
9.   thelarmis
0 Emma, Warner Madrigal, is absolutely a wonderful name! esp. the surname. it wouldn't be medieval German chamber musik, however. Madrigals, are Italian vocal chamber pieces from the 14th-16th centuries and were in high-class art form. when i was in Classical Music school, i wrote a paper on the also fabulously named Cipriano de Rore, who was best known for his 16th century Italian madrigals.

English madrigals appeared in the 16th & 17th centuries, but weren't as noted. the high-brow art rock bands Rush & Yes, both had songs called "Madrigal" in the late 70's, but of course, neither one of them were truly madrigals, in form. still, it's a great name/title!

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