Monday, August 11, 2008

A closer look at Ponson

Yes, I still hate Ponson, but he has thrown two solid starts (despite so many men on base) in a row. However, the good folks at ESPN's Insider are projecting doom with his next start in MINN (Insider access required, sorry):

Pitcher Sidney Ponson is having his first good season since 2003, with a 7-2 record and 4.23 ERA in 16 starts between the Rangers and Yankees. Considering his bad off-field behavior and performance decline -- an ERA in the 6.00 range each of the past three seasons -- fans might wonder why teams keep giving Ponson a chance. [Gee, I wonder who would be crass enough to do that? Hmmmmm?] Since 2007, he has thrown strikes on 63 percent of his 91 mph fastballs, right around league average, which gives him some value.

Ponson has put together two straight strong starts, allowing three runs and eight hits over 13 1/3 innings. Managing Ponson's workload seems to be a key to maximizing his effectiveness. He hits a wall after he throws around 185 total pitches in two consecutive outings on normal four-day rest, severely reducing the effectiveness of his next start.
Danger could be lurking when Ponson faces the Twins tonight. He threw 96 pitches on Aug. 1 and 95 on Aug. 6 for a combined total of 191. The last time Ponson made a start after so many pitches was on June 4 (195 pitches in previous two). Ponson gave up six runs (two earned) in four innings in the loss before getting released by the Rangers.

Great, just what the Yanks desperately need right now.

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