Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is It Too Soon to Panic? YES!!!!!!!

Wooooohooooooo, it's baseball season! Mrs. Bembledack still wonders why they play 162 games every season, but personally, I love them all. Unlike the NFL where you have a 16 game season, MLB grinds out 162 games in roughly 6 months. Every team is going to have good and bad stretches during a season. The better teams just have more good ones than bad. So why am I getting an AP headline like this one?!?

Panic time for champs? Phillies drop to 0-2

Panic time?!!!!!!!? After two fucking games?!!!!!!!? With 160 games yet to play?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

Two games in, these Philadelphia Phillies are playing like last year’s team.

Oh, you mean the team that won the World Series last year? Fuck the heck?

Jair Jurrjens and four relievers combined on a six-hitter, Kelly Johnson and Chipper Jones hit solo homers and the Atlanta Braves beat the defending World Series champions 4-0 on Tuesday night.

The Phillies are off to an 0-2 start for the fourth straight year. They’ll receive their 2008 championship rings Wednesday before trying to avoid a three-game sweep.

Alright, so they are off to an 0-2 start. So are you saying that every team should panic when they have a two-game losing streak? And you are saying this is the fourth straight year they have started 0-2? Well, let's look at how they finished the previous three years, shall we?

2008 - Finished 92-70, 1st place NL East and won the World Series. Bravo, good for you.
2007 - Finished 89-73, 1st place NL East, lost in Divisional Series to Colorado 3 games to none.
2006 - Finished 85-77, 2nd place NL East, 3 games out of the Wild Card spot.

Did those teams panic after starting 0-2 in those three seasons? I'm thinking no.

“You always want to get off to a good start, but you can’t repeat until you play 162 games,” losing pitcher Jamie Moyer said.

At least someone seems to have a brain in this article. The author certainly does not.

Jurrjens (1-0) beat a guy twice his age. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up four hits and walked three in 5 2-3 impressive innings.

Is Moyer's or Jurrjens' age really relevant here? Well, maybe. I know it is early and the season and most games north of the Mason-Dixon line are near or below freezing at this point, but it is only one game. Moyer is 46 and probably not thrilled with the cold temperatures right now (that is another story for later).

Jeff Bennett gave up a single to the only batter he faced before Eric O’Flaherty got the next four outs. Rafael Soriano pitched the eighth and Mike Gonzalez finished.

“We had excellent pitching,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “J.J. was really good. When he got in trouble, he pitched out of it.”

Moyer (0-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. The 46-year-old lefty led the Phillies with 16 wins and had a 3.71 ERA last season, earning a $13 million, two-year contract despite his age.

Any team giving a contract to a 40+ year old player is knowingly taking a risk. You are just as likely to have a 6-18 year with a 5.00+ ERA than a 16-win, 3.71 ERA season. I'm more concerned with the lack of offense than a mediocre night by Moyer.

The rest of story details the game. But here is why I don't care for early baseball.

It was 45 degrees when the game started, so fans were bundled in heavy coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Some didn’t show up, even though the game was sold out.
An 0-2 start is definitely nothing to warrant hitting the panic button. The Phillies lost at least two games in a row 19 times last season, including a six game losing streak in June, and still won their division. If you are 5-17 on May 1st, then you might need to look into researching a new team paradigm. The Phillies were 15-13 at the end of April last year and then took off. Two games does not a season make.

--EDIT--

I was reading the sports section of Tuesday's USA Today and noticed the information they had on last night's game. Jamie Moyer was only 3-8 (now 3-9) against the Braves including going 0-0 in 11 IP with a 6.88 ERA last season. So maybe he mojo just doesn't work well against the Braves. Period.

Also, the Phillies got their offense working and came back from seven runs down to beat the Braves 12-11. So I guess there really is no need to panic.

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