When the best performances of the wheel’s first turn are four-inning no-decisions from Pavano and Pettite narrowly edging the gutsy performance of a rain-out in the second game of the season, it’s good to look to the lighter side of things. On tap for today? Pavano vs. Ponson. Only the deepest cynics and depressive-types can’t have a chuckle when reading that ballot. Carl Pavano, with his starter-leading 1.85 WHIP takes the mound for New York as late-season castoff Sidney Ponson makes his first appearance of the year for Minnesota. After the last seven days, does it really seem all that strange? The first week of the regular season saw spectacular triumphs by the offense to go with the trials of the rotation, including Andy Pettitte throwing middle relief two days before a scheduled start as New York continues to scramble. Whatever it is Gator takes to quash ulcers, I want some.
Defense? Yes, please. I’ll blame it on early-season rust and playing in conditions better suited for pond hockey and keep my head buried in the snow for now, not to mix metaphors. Injury sent Matsui to the DL and Damon lost playing time due to his barking, sexy calves. Jeter and Abreu are playing hurt after plate mishaps. However, there’s plenty of inspired baseball as well. Álex was simply devastating at the plate; New York would likely be winless without his contributions. Yesterday, Johnny came off the bench to work an 11-pitch at bat into a triple, and followed up with a single his next time up. Jorge and Robi are both swinging very well. The staff ERA is bulging just south of five and one-half, but the Yankee pen has given up only two runs (one earned) after the sixth inning so far.
New York came in from the cold to the quirky confines of the Metrodome. The Twins are off to a 4-1 start, with Morneau and Mauer continuing their torrid production from last season. Santana started yesterday; New York will have the good fortune of not facing him in the three-game series. Kevin Thompson has been called up to replenish the depleted oufield, but it’s Melky, Johnny and Bobby from left to right tonight.