June 14th, 2006
A few weeks ago, in one of Sidney Ponson’s better games, I was discussing him with another St. Louis writer. I noted that I wasn’t entirely certain how he was doing it, and we both agreed that he was really benefiting from his defense, and from balls fallling in the right places.
The other scribe then said the following to me:
"At some point this season, he’s going to be doing exactly the same thing, but those balls are going to go for base hits, and we’re going to talk about how badly he’s pitching."
Said scribe has been proven prophetic sooner than expected.
It’s not that Ponson was going great when he was undefeated. And, really, it’s not that he’s been terrible his last few starts. But there’s a fundamental issue with Ponson, and I don’t know how it can be overcome: he doesn’t miss enough bats. And when he does induce contact, often it’s hard contact. Opponents were slugging .467 against Ponson before tonight’s game.
You’ve got to be able to put away hitters, and I haven’t really seen a put-away pitch from Ponson this year. The two hits by Zach Duke showed that more than anything on Wednesday.
Ponson can continue to be a reasonably effective pitcher, I think. He can get five or six innings, and most of the time keep the team in the game. He can hold down the back of the rotation just fine. But his ERA, currently at 4.35, is more likely to go up than down between now and the end of the season.