Andruw Jones celebrated his 33rd birthday in style on Friday night, slugging two solo home runs, including a walk-off shot in a 7-6 win over the Mariners.
Jones, who reportedly lost 15 to 20 pounds over the winter, is off to a fantastic start in Chicago, batting .293/.408/.756 with six home runs and nine RBI over his first 41 at-bats this season. He’s been a lone early bright spot for an offense that has combined to hit just .219/.302/.386 thus far.
Still on cloud nine following Friday’s win, the resurgent Jones told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune the following:
“I’m way far from done. I think I can play five more years.”
It’s a nice comeback story and he certainly deserves regular at-bats in the short-term, but don’t look for this success to continue. Recognize that he’s hitting .412/.500/1.118 with four home runs against lefties, as compared to
a meager .208/.345/.500 with two home runs and 10 strikeouts in 24 at-bats against right-handers, consistent with his declining profile since his 41-homer season in 2006. U.S. Cellular Field should prove to be a pretty nice launching pad for him, but chances are he’ll be more useful as a strict platoon player before it’s all said and done.
Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.
Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.
Aaron Judge hit a monster home run in last night’s win over the Mets, but he also set a dubious record. Judge struck out for the 33rd consecutive game, setting a new mark for a position player in a single season.
Yes, that’s qualified. No pitchers, of course, as I assume many of them have struck out in more than 33 straight games. Also, Adam Dunn once struck out in 36 straight games, but that straddled two seasons: he struck out in the final four games of 2011 and the first 32 games of 2012. Still, Judge’s feat is impressive, and given the nature of his game and the state of baseball these days, it’s not hard to imagine him striking out in three or four more straight games anyway.
None of which, by the way, should be all that much of a slight on Judge. The guy is still hitting .291/.420/.614, even with his second half slump. If I was a manager I’d happily accept his whiffs in exchange for everything else he brings to the table. It’s not 1959 anymore, and strikeouts are not the worst thing that can happen.