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There's a familiar sound echoing within the friendly confines of Major League Baseball stadiums. Baseball's boo birds are back. It began on opening day in Washington when President Obama wore a Chicago White Sox hat while getting ready to throw out the season's first pitch.
Two weeks of the 2010 season is history. Unfortunately for many star players, their slow beginning is still alive and well. Accompanying their struggles has been the chorus of dissatisfied fans who show great displeasure by heckling their one time hometown heroes. Boo birds no longer reside only in hometowns. The rising success of fantasy sports can very well leave a fan in North Dakota screaming at his computer screen when David Ortiz fails to deliver.
Time for a look at early season strugglers.
Prince Fielder (MIL) was homerless and batting .226 in 13 games before connecting this afternoon. Not quite what fans had hoped for from their slugger who belted 46 in '09.
Grady Sizemore (CLE) hitting .191 isn't quite what experts expected. The good news is 5 extra base hits (3 2b, 2 3b) in 12 games.
Jon Lester (BOS) seemed to be high on most Cy Young prediction lists. He's been anything but dominant (0-2, 8.44).
Javier Vasquez (NYY) it's hard to believe the Yanks were willing to give another chance to the pitcher who was bombarded by Boston in Game 7 ALCS (2004). Javy had a career year in '09. However, 2010 looks like 2004 (1-2, 8.27). New Yankee Stadium's home run frequency will not be a friend to this fly baller.
Carlos Zambrano (CHI) has been demoted to bullpen duty after only 4 starts (1-2, 7.45). A troubling sign for the ace of the Cubs rotation. Get ready for another long year in Wrigley.
Trevor Hoffman (MIL) already credited with 2 blown saves to go with a not so sporty 12.60 ERA.
Frank Francisco (TEX) is no longer the Rangers closer. 2 opening week blown saves cost his job.
Aramis Ramirez (CHI) sports one of the lowest averages in all of baseball (.131). 21 strikeouts in 15 games is cause for concern. Maybe Zambrano can play 3B?
JD Drew (BOS) (.140) is one of many struggling Red Sox players.
David Ortiz (BOS) was once a hero in Boston. Now he's being attacked daily by Boston sportswriters after consecutive seasons of sub par April's. Homerless and .146 BA has kept boo birds active.
David Wright (NYM) is getting rough treatment in CitiField. Mired in an 8 game strikeout streak (14 in 29 AB) while runners are left stranded game after game.
Hunter Pence (HOU) proves spring training stats don't count for much. After tearing it up in March, he's lost it in April (.173)
Mark Teixeira (NYY) owns MLB's lowest batting average (.114). Yanks aren't worried yet since Teix started slowly in '09 on the way to posting AL best power numbers.
Carlos Lee (HOU) had been one of the most consistant year after year. However, 2010 has Lee baffled. 1 extra base hit, 2 walks and .145 BA. Not good for a career .290 hitter with 300+ homeruns.
Raul Ibanez (PHI) went from being '09 early MVP candidate to pure disaster at the plate. .186 to begin '10 has many wondering if his days in Philly are numbered.
Don't go pushing any panic buttons. It's conceivable most mentioned above will enjoy strong rebounds. However, from managers to fans to fantasy players, there's cause for concern even in the very early stages of April baseball