Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Guys, One Injury

No guys, I'm not making any snarky comments about legions of athletes who have shown up to work despite sore ribs.  At least not today.  I think it's notable to keep score especially tonight, on the eve of Yao Ming's anticipated retirement announcement and in the middle of Dustin Pedroia's hot streak.

As you will remember from this offseason, there were a lot of people concerned about Pedroia's long-term health, as his injury was the same injury as the one as Yao's.  Granted, Pedroia is not a 7'5" Chinese dude who likes to write checks, already got directions on his own GPS device, and plays a sport that requires such constant ankle, foot, and even knee manipulation that you saw my co-author and at least one of my commentors walk around campus like Andre Dawson by the time they were seniors.

But still.  Same injury.  Never healed.  Took about ten years of drinking Sprite for Grant Hill's injury (same one) to heal and for him to be a half-decent player again.  If I didn't take the year off from fantasy baseball, I would have avoided Pedroia like the plague for these very reasons.  I probably would have selected Mike Cameron knowing how I recovered from his injury as well, but that would have turned out poorly.

But here he is.  He's back close to hitting .300 again, and if you prorate his stats thus far over 162, he's on pace to hit .295/24/90 with 40 doubles and an OPS of .870.  His 2009 stats were .296/15/72 with 48 doubles and an OPS of .817.  He will not play 162 or even the 154 he played in 2009, but the bottom line is, these stats are only a hair below his MVP season.  The player's just fine.  Since June 10 (yeah, over a month), he's running an OPS of 1.16, nine home runs, 13 doubles, and a batting average of a silly .379.  Let's face it, the guy who had the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders is not the reason the Red Sox still have that slim lead in the East.  It's probably not even Gonzalez over the last three weeks.  It's Pedroia.

Meanwhile, it's sad to see the end of Yao's career.  I went to his first game in Boston and was one of two white guys in a balcony section, surrounded by Chinese guys.  (My tour guide, one of my friends from high school, held a sign that said "Add Gas," or, in other words "Go.")  He seemed like a charismatic player and he opened up the idea of American basketball to a whole new niche of fans.  He wrote checks, never got lost while driving in new places, never punched any fans, never sexually assaulted anyone in Colorado, never held a self-promoting television special, never compared his bowling to the Special Olympics (was that Lebron or Obama?), and had a decent (but not great) career in the NBA.

Then he hurt his foot, and it was all over.

As Red Sox fans, we should all watch the Yao retirement tomorrow and be happy that this is not Dustin Pedroia.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

Everybody knows that Pat shuffled around campus with a limp-esque stride, not because he was injured in college (although he was injured) but because he used to be fat as a little kid and never learned to walk any other way.

Also, I would just once love to see JD Drew come to bat and hear Don Orsillo say something like, "And here's JD Drew. Checks in at .221 with four homers and 22 RBI. Having just an AWFUL year. Probably should have just given that $14 million to charity, huh Jerry?"

Also, Gonzalez has hit a skid of late. Which is actually great timing for it. The Sox have still managed to win during this stretch and you know that 2-20 isn't going to turn into 5-50.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

Perhaps it was more like a crip-walk. But there were some days, especially when he didn't have morning class, when his walk was more painful to watch than Youkilis's run. He would have played with sore ribs, that's for sure.

I thought you were gonna ask me about JD Drew having the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders in 2009. Please rest assured that JD's .321 on-base percentage is just a tick higher than the league average of .320. Underlying performance. Player evaluation. Sweet swing. Boy wonder. Next Mickey Mantle. Don't worry, I'll address my favorite topic tonight.

Gonzalez has allowed 2-20 to turn into 4-24, which is a better rate than most Varitek second-halves. It's about time he was DHed for a game. There's no way anyone should play 162 straight, especially with this lineup.