Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 22, 2006
BASEBALL: Who's Your Papi Now?

Well, yesterday afternoon had to be the coup de grace for the Red Sox. The Sox remain pretty close to the top of the AL in runs scored, so despite the failures of Coco Crisp and the injury to Varitek, the offense really can't take much of the blame here.

Boston started the season with a projected 5-man rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Clement, Wakefield and Wells. Schilling hasn't quite been the Schilling of old, but given his age and injuries he's done about as well as could be expected (14-5, 3.84 ERA) and Wakefield was pitching in typical Wake style until he got hurt. And rookie Jon Lester (6-2, 4.72) has pitched some great games, albeit without the consistency of a more experienced pitcher.

The problem has been the rest of the rotation. In 45 starts, Beckett, Clement and Wells have gone a combined 20-16 with a 5.67 ERA, averaging just 5.8 innings per start, 1.67 HR/9 and 1.47 baserunners per inning. Now, the Sox knew going in that Wells was a gamble, but they had reasonably depended on Clement to be halfway decent and Beckett to step up and shine.

The other five starters - Josh Jason Johnson, Lenny DiNardo, Kyle Snyder, David Pauley and Kason Gabbard - are people the Sox never envisioned having to start this season, and they have sealed the team's doom: 3-11 in 19 starts, just 4.8 IP/start, a 7.00 ERA, and a staggering 1.92 baserunners per inning.

Like the Yankees' acquisition of Abreu and Lidle, there's nothing more complicated to Boston's collapse than that - the starting pitching just isn't there. The bullpen has been thin all year (Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez being unreliable), but with better starters they wouldn't have had to lean so hard on a couple of guys.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:21 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

I wish the Sox had Josh Johnson. The worst of their worst is Jason Johnson.

Posted by: Henry at August 22, 2006 10:29 AM

D'oh! I keep mixing up their names.

Posted by: The Crank at August 22, 2006 10:33 AM

The Yankees are looking like the team that could end up winning it all right now.

Posted by: Jake at August 22, 2006 11:20 AM

I think we can put all the talk of Ortiz winning the MVP to rest.
Ten days ago, if you had told me that Ortiz was not going to win the MVP, the obvious next choice would have been Jeter, but he's been slumping quite noticeably recently as well.
Who is going to win the AL MVP? Santana? Giambi?

Posted by: Jimbo at August 22, 2006 1:41 PM

Jeter slumping? He's hitting .337. Did you notice the two-out 3 run double in the 7th inning of the tie game on Saturday or the two-out RBI single with two outs, down one in the top of the 9th on Sunday? Boston did itself no favors in any way, shape or form in any of those games. The two best chances they had to win Jeter stuck a knife in their ribs both times. That's what MVPs do. In both those at bats I so wanted A-Rod to be at the plate. Jeter? He's a bastard in those situations.

Posted by: jim at August 22, 2006 4:15 PM

Jeter's been mediocre this month: .256/.350/.384, though it might be a stretch to call it a slump. But Jim's basically right, overall Jeter's been awesome, and he came through at the most important points of the biggest series of the year.

Posted by: paul zummo at August 22, 2006 5:12 PM

I wish the Sox could trade Theo Epstein for Bronson Arroyo.

The Red Sox network had Jack Welch on before Friday's game for a telethon, and in Jack's typical cantankerous fashion, he lambasted the young GM for not picking up another starter.

That was my most enjoyable moment in this weekend's series.

Posted by: Patrick at August 22, 2006 9:56 PM

Schilling hasn't quite been the Schilling of old, but given his age and injuries he's done about as well as could be expected (14-5, 3.84 ERA)

Tough frickin' crowd!

Let's look at the Crank" in March.

SP1 39 Curt Schilling (raw)12 (adj)9

I'm quite sure everyone expects a 39yr old to completely rebound from an "off year" due to tendon surgery to win over 70% of his decisions with a "+" ERA... :o)

Posted by: fletch at August 23, 2006 1:50 AM
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