Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Skittle On Littleton

The Boston Red Sox acquired sidearming righthanded reliever Wes Littleton from the Texas Rangers in the offseason, hoping he would help shore up the bullpen much like Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez WILL make the team even if he's having some jitters adjusting to the media's glare. All is not as well for Wes so far, though. He's having trouble with his control. He put it this way...

“It’s just a matter of time before things click in,” Littleton said, snapping his fingers, “so I’ve just got to stay positive until then. It's just tough right now, things just haven't clicked from the start of spring training really. But I still have a long way to go. It's just a matter of time before things click in," Littleton said, snapping his fingers, "so I've just got to stay positive until then."

I guess Littleton likes to use the work "click." I too hope things "click in," to coin a phrase. His sidearm delivery is very tough on righthanded batters...if it's in the strike zone. So far, most of his pitches haven't been. Here's what Tito Francona had to say...

“Wes is trying to establish that he can be part of that bullpen,” said Francona. “Wes is intriguing, because of his delivery and his style, but he may have to show command and throw strikes a little bit better. He’s a guy who’s going to have deception in his delivery,” said Francona. “But if he falls behind in the count, especially to left-handed hitters, he puts himself in a bind.

Littleton spent the previous three seasons with the Rangers. He was excellent after his first call-up in 2006, posting a 1.73 ERA in 36 1/3 relief innings. He put up a serviceable 4.31 ERA in 48 frames in 2007, but regressed last year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings, and spent much of the year in the minor leagues. The sidearm delivery is particularly tough on right-handed hitters, but Littleton can have problems getting strikes on lefties (thank you projo dot com). I guess that's why we have Javy Lopez. I'm wary of sidearmers in the first place, however, but that's just my personal opinion. We wish him luck. Include Ramon Ramirez in that wish. Bigtime.

Yesterday in Florida, the Sox beat the Pirates 15-14. It was ugly, but as Tito said, at least Jon Lester got his work in. Except for Ramirez, the bullpen was as porous as a window screen on a warm summer day. But it's only spring training, and until yesterday, the 'pen has looked great. No worries here. Our bullpen will be just fine.

That's it for this Tuesday morning. Good luck to the women UCONN Huskies in the Big East championship game tonight, televised on ESPN and ESPN HD at 7pm EDT. They will play and beat Louisville to go to 33-0. Click on the title for more on last night's game and our superstar, Maya Moore, the best college player in the country. The excellent article was penned by "our" sportswriter, Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. He's the best. Hello to you, Jeff. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

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