April 23, Phoenix – I’m certainly still not following through with my twice a week promise, but hopefully I can get there. Here is an update on the numbers we talked about below and it appears as if the offense is improving, but one thing is crystal clear: at this point last year, hitters were much more comfortable than they are a few weeks into this season.
Through April 22, 2006 (260 total games), the league was hitting .269, with 635 HR (1HR/28AB). Each game played had a combined average of 10.3 runs per game and the league ERA was 4.84.
Through April 22, 2007 (266 total games), the league has hit .254, with 480 HR (1HR/38AB). The combined runs per game have been 8.95 and the league ERA is 4.07.
Maybe it’s just me, but this still appears to be a fairly dramatic difference. Was it the weather? Are pitchers a bit more polished and specialized? Is there more parity than ever and is offense suffering somehow? Or is it nothing?
After the incredible series this past weekend at Fenway Park that over delivered drama, I would imagine that there was one Red Sox fan that had one eye on the action while trying to beat the Padres. Here is part of a recent conversation that I had with Rockies catcher and rookie Chris Iannetta, who hails from Providence, Rhode Island and played his college baseball at North Carolina:
Daron: Did you go to a lot of Tar Heels basketball games in college at UNC?
Chris: It’s tough to get into the games. When you are in school to get tickets you have to go through a lottery and I never got a chance to see a Duke/Carolina game until my last year. It was the double overtime game at Chapel Hill and it was awesome. It was tied for the best sporting event that I’ve ever been to.
Daron: What’s it tied with?
Chris: Red Sox/Yankees ALCS Game 5 at Fenway in 2004. That had to be the best one watching that live.
Daron: I need more of the story, where were you sitting?
Chris: It was fun. I actually was behind the backstop about 30 rows back. I didn’t have tickets. A friend came to my back door and said, ‘Hey we’re going to the game’. Day of the game, I’m not going to say no, I just went for it and it was fun.
Chris: A little bit, except I didn’t spend the night in the bar and I didn’t get the girl.
Daron: You look at a guy like Mike Matheny and have a true respect for how a veteran can handle a game and the pitching staff from behind the plate. How difficult is it for a young catcher to have that type of impact? Is it catching first and hitting second?
Chris: Yeah, for me priority number one is to catch and throw, to call a solid game and to handle a pitching staff. In that role I’m dealing with 13 or 14 other guys, not just myself. When I’m hitting, I’m up there by myself and trying to help the team out as much as I can in any situation. When I’m catching, I have a lot of guys relying on me to block balls, throw people out and make the right pitch suggestions. For me all of that is top priority. I learned last year that it is not going to happen over night and that I can’t develop relationships in a day, but this year I’ve been able to develop some and start the process.
See you soon.