Friday, August 10, 2007

Rotation Redux

There was an interesting article in the Boston Herald this dark and wet Friday morning, and I thought I'd post a small part of it and leave you my comments. The subject matter? The Boston Red Sox rotation, that much heralded quintet ready to take us to future glory days. But is it? When Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka are on the hill, the results have been good, sometimes awesome. But the rest of the arms? Read on.......

".......Curt Schilling's return to the Red Sox was somewhat encouraging on Monday; however, his effort
translated into a 6.00 ERA and he looked like nothing more than a six-inning pitcher. Tim Wakefield can be prone to streakiness, Jon Lester is still throwing way too many pitches and the Sox are now at a stage of the season where they cannot afford too many slip-ups.
“I don’t think (Lester) commanded like he needs to or like he will,” Francona said following Lester’s outing on Wednesday in Anaheim. “He’s still a young pitcher and we try never to forget that. He’s a work in progress and his development got interrupted (last season).”
All of that is true, naturally, yet the reality persists. On their current trip, the Red Sox are 2-0 in games started by Matsuzaka and Beckett, 1-3 in games started by anyone else."

Peter here, and one must remember that the Sox were facing the cream of the AL Western division and came away with a 3-3 record. But nagging questions DO persist. Can Schill come back and be an effective 6 plus inning pitcher? I think he will. Can Timmy Wakefield be more than a .500 pitcher. Though his record says he is better than that right now, one or two good outings from him and he throws a clunker. We have to hope he'll get on a hot streak and win 6 or 7 in a row. Of course, the opposite might happen, too. And that brings us to Jon Lester. He has been horrendous since his miracle comeback from cancer, and I still and always will respect him more than anything or anyone. But I just do NOT think he is ready. As Tito said in the preceding paragraph, he IS a work in progress, but he's been pitching at the professional level for the better part of 2/3 of a season and has still not learned to be economical and effective with his pitches. He remains a five inning pitcher. Number five starter or not, THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

The bullpen will salvage many games when the club is ahead after six frames, but we can't expect them to do it every time. They'll wear out like a flat tire run ragged by an innattentive driver. Tito has managed the 'pen arms well, keeping everyone on an even keel in terms of usage. But, bottom line, Lester, and to a much lesser degree, Schill, must pick it up and "carry that weight" when their turn in the rotation comes up. I have faith, but I see small, almost invisible to the human eye cracks in the foundation of the rotation. Scoring a few more runs per game will make my point moot. Witness the Wednesday game against the Angels. Lester had LESS than nothing, yet the Sox won by three. So we'll see, won't we?

I linked the Herald article so you can read the entire piece. Just click on the title. And tonight, it's the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles, and we face their best pitcher, and one of the best in the majors. Here are your pitching matchups......

Matsuzaka (13-8, 3.70 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (12-4, 3.09) tonight
Beckett (14-5, 3.31) vs. Brian Burres (5-5, 4.61) Saturday
Curt Schilling (6-5, 4.31) vs. Steve Trachsel (5-7, 4.88) Sunday

LET'S TAKE THREE, the toughest one being tonight, at 7pm, as we start off our weekend. Be well! And your comments would be SO welcome. Please.


At 8/10/2007 7:21 AM, Blogger Mainecatwoman said...

I too respect Lester for what he went through last year and his efforts to rehab himself this year, but frankly I've never been as sold on him as many are. To hear the Red Sox talk last year, you'd think he was the second coming of Carlton, and I just don't see that. A middle to end of rotation guy at best.

Of course, Clemens was crappy too in his first 40 or so ML innings, so I could be wrong....

At 8/10/2007 7:40 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

And I KNOW you don't mean Carlton Fisk...the name Steve comes to mind.
He'll (JL) have to have a major revamping of his entire pitching process...and the future of this 2007 club depends on reliable starting pitching. Have a great weekend, MCW.


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