Well, yesterday was fun. The blog set a new all-time record for hits, and by the time all is said and done, it might set the comments record as well (currently at 99, the record is this post with 138). At the very least, it'll definitely become the second post in SCSD! history to earn 100 comments.
These stats are unofficial, but here are the five highest-trafficked days in blog history:
1. Yesterday - writing in the voice of the worst human possible.
2. The day after the 2010 title - addressing Duke haters in a...defiant fashion.
3. Duke losing to Arizona - schadenfreude
4. Pissing off sportswriters
5. Writing something nice about Tyler Hansbrough
The lesson: write reasoned, cautious treatises on American sports if you want to build an audience. Avoid controversial opinions.
Or, the opposite of that.
Then I realized: I'm just about the last person to learn this lesson. The New York Post learned this stuff years ago. So from now on, the top of every entry is going to be a Post-style cover picture with a controversial headline. Starting NOW:
YEAH! FIST PUMP!
The Red Sox, amazingly, have started 0-6. A stat I keep hearing from Yankee fans is that no team has ever won a World Series after starting 0-4, which means the Red Sox should just quit now. As of now, the two best teams in the AL East are Toronto (4-2, +16 run differential) and Baltimore (5-1, +13). The Yanks stand at a less dominant 4-2, and the Rays and Sox are at the bottom.
The world is on its very head.
Let's hit some Yankee highlights and lowlights heading into the 3-game series at Fenway.
1. AJ Burnett. YES. This is what dude is supposed to look like. After looking pretty good in his fever-inflicted first start, he looked even stronger yesterday. Girardi worked him up to 99 pitches over six innings, and he struck out 5 while only walking 2. He still isn't dominant (6 swinging strikes compared to 17 called strikes), and he had his struggles in the fourth, but he's on his way to being a high-quality #2. I'm psyched. I really think the ghost of last year is behind him.
2. CC Sabathia. Lost in all the Kyrie mess the past two days was his gem against the Twins on Tuesday. He struck out 6 through seven innings, had 10 swinging strikes, and allowed only 2 hits and a walk. When he left, the Yanks were up 4-0. Then Soriano blew it in the 8th (whatever, it happens; he's been great otherwise and unlike other Yankee fans I don't kill Girardi for the move), and the Yanks lost 5-4 in extra innings. The perfect example of why 'wins' is a terrible measure of a pitcher's ability.
3. Teixeira. Four home runs already? Gracious. This is the opposite of a typical Teixeira start. His OPS is a disgusting 1.280, and he has 18 total bases in 21 at-bats. Not bad.
4. A-Rod. He's right there with Teixeira, just a half-step below on the production ladder. His OBP is .400, his OPS is north of 1.000, and he has 2 home runs and 2 doubles that were almost home runs. Our 3-4 are mighty, mighty men.
5. Russell Martin. Holy shit! He's a hitting machine! CAN NOTHING STOP HIM?
Other quick bright spots: Andruw Jones' performance in the last two games, the bullpen minus the one anomaly, Swisher's very decent beginning.
1. Derek Jeter. Sorry, Yankee optimists. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I'm not going to believe that he's a strong option at short. We know about his fielding; he's a little too slow, a little too old to be anything more than competent. But the big hope was that Kevin Long would improve his hitting from '10, an historically bad year. Believe me, I'd still love to be surprised, but as now it just ain't working out. He's 5-21 with only 6 total bases. The slugging % is a haggard .286. His ground ball percentage, which was a career-high 65.7% last year, is now 80%.
I know we're still dealing with a small sample size, but it's the way he's accumulated the numbers that are worrisome. It'd be one thing if he was hitting line drive shots that kept getting caught. But the truth is, all the problems that plagued him last year are persisting. At the very least, I'm becoming more and more grateful that the Yanks took a hard line in contract negotiations this offseason.
2. The Get-Your-Shit-Together-Club: Granderson and Cano. Come on, guys, you're too good for this. I think Robbie's about to find his stride, but I'm more worried about Grandy. What happened to the great end to last season and the strong spring training? 3-19 ain't your style, man.
3. Gardner. I'm just not sure he can hit, period. Having his speed as a weapon is like having a bullet without a gun. He just can't get on base. He's striking out at a higher rate than normal this year (27.8%), and the funny thing is, he's seeing mostly fastballs (75% of all pitches; for comparison's sake, Robbie Cano faces fastballs only 52% of the time). I don't see why he can't drive the ball unless the talent itself is missing.
4. Posada. Jorge's kind of a mixed bag. His average is very poor and he's looked a little off at the plate, but he does have 3 home runs. The power's there. You just worry that, like Jeter, age has eroded the timing mechanisms that served them so well in the glory days.
5. Hughes. We went over his poor first start earlier this week. I'll refrain from piling on further until we see how he does at Fenway this afternoon. I'm really hoping we see some swinging strikes, though. If he can't find his strikeout pitch, the Sox will eat him alive.
I'm psyched for the game. It's at 2pm, and my pal Nate tells me the MLB Network is carrying it. We'll be getting Bob Costas and Jim Kaat on the call. Yanks-Sox, for the first time this year. Baseball season has begun. Vamos.