Monday, April 10, 2006

Well, the first two games of the Yankee series turned out quite well. Kelvim Escobar pitched a nifty game Friday night. He didn't seem to be locating his forkball well enough to rack up strikeouts, but he was getting outs nonetheless, and walked no one.

Ervin Santana's outing Saturday night was solid if unspectacular. Sure, two hits in five-and-two-thirds innings looks great, but the kid missed quite a few spots and allowed more than a few hard-hit balls. Luckily, when he missed a spot, he generally missed somewhere where he still couldn't be hit hard, and when someone tagged the ball, it went right at someone.

Relatedly, how in the hell does Country Joe West stay employed? He's got to be one of the four worst umpires in the majors, a honored roll that includes Mike Everitt, Larry Young, Jerry Meals, and of course Doug Eddings. His goof of a play at first Friday night, where he ruled that Casey Kotchman had pulled his foot off of first base, was bad enough, but he had to top if off with a ridiculously inconsistent strike zone Saturday evening. The piece of resistance was definitely the eleven-pitch-walk Ervin "issued" to Jason Giambi, wherein ball four not only was called a strike roughly five times later in the game, but it had been called strike two earlier in the at-bat! Ervin's reaction was priceless, as he covered his mouth with his glove to deprive Joe West of what was certainly a colorful string of Spanish nouns and adjectives, only to break into laughter when he finally pulled his glove away.

Yesterday, as you well know, was a disaster, as Bartolo Colon got hammered halfway to Saturn. The Big Mango insists he's not hurt, but a few more starts out of the Pre-All-Star-Break 2004 Collection, and I'll be calling to put him on the DL on general principles. Big Bart just isn't very consistent out there, looking good and spotting his fastball for one inning and coughing up BP fastballs down the middle in the next. To his credit, Colon immediately shot down any speculation that the cause of his troubles was that he was throwing to rookie Jeff Mathis and not to his crutch of last season, Jose Molina: "I can't blame whoever put the signs down because I was the one making pitches, and they were very bad pitches."

This is most certainly true; the home run he allowed to Jorge Posada missed its spot by about 17 inches, and a fastball intended to run away from the Yankee catcher on the outside corner ended up right in his wheelhouse at the knees, and resultedly ended up a souvenir in right field.

Of course, we're going to need Colon healthy and productive in what should prove to be a competitive division this season, so hopefully this will just be a blip, like the awful game he threw in Yankee Stadium last season.

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