2009 MLB American League East Notebook
Toronto ace Roy Halladay has won twice as many games in his career (134) as he has lost (67).
He’s won a Cy Young Award back in 2003. Halladay also has three times more career strikeouts (1,313) than walks (423) and pretty much been the most dominating right-hander in baseball in the last four or five years.
And yet he has more problems with the Texas Rangers than anybody else. When the Rangers knocked off Halladay, 5-4, on April 21, in Rogers Stadium, it dropped his career record against them to 7-7. In 20 starts, he has a 5.36 ERA against them, by far the highest against any AL opponent.
In his most recent start, he surrendered two-run home runs to Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler.
This is just one of those oddities in baseball that would not make sense. You could probably see it if Halladay had problems against the Yankees or Red Sox.
But the Rangers?
It’s a case where matchups can be a problem. In his only start against them in 2008 – a loss – the Rangers touched him up for four runs and 11 hits in nine innings. And don’t forget his 2005 season was cut short when he took a line drive off his shin in Arlington. The line drive broke the leg.
While there is presumed panic about the new Yankee Stadium serving as a home run haven – 26 in the first six games is the most in the first six games of any new ballpark – there is this little factoid that many experts could be overlooking.
The Yankees pitching staff just isn’t very good right now.
New York’s team ERA of 6.27 is running 13 th in the American League. The 54 walks are in the middle of the league rankings and teams are batting .285 against them. But there have been problems on the road. Yankee pitchers have surrendered 10, 7 and 15 runs.
And right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (34.50 ERA) will be skipped for Friday’s start at Boston because of his early season collapse.
The Rays are probably haggling over when exactly will be the right time to recall left-hander David Price.
The 2007 No. 1 overall pick from Vanderbilt made 10 appearances between the end of the 2008 regular season and the playoffs and was pretty impressive. He had no decisions but carried a 1.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts.
Price is still in Triple A Durham and is 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA through his first three starts. But something needs to energize the Rays who are running last in the division.
It’s pretty much classically bad pitching from the Orioles who watched a 6-2 start slide to 7-8.
In this stretch where the Orioles had lost six of seven, the pitching staff had allowed 41 runs. For the season, the Baltimore pitching staff has yielded 25 home runs in 122 innings. That’s one in less than every five innings.
The watch on David Ortiz has become more and more intense. Last year, excuses were made for him because he battled through a wrist injury and didn’t have Manny Ramirez with him through the course of the season. He hit only 23 home runs and added 89 RBIs.
But things are noticeable this year. Scouts have noted that Ortiz is cheating on his swing to catch up to average fastballs. Big Papi has also been quietly criticized because he doesn’t work as hard as he should to keep himself in shape.
Ortiz raised his average to .220 but was still homerless as of April 22. He had eight RBIs but clearly can be pitched to.
By Kevin Lonnquist
> View all of the 2008 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans