Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The Sox bullpen has given up at least one earned run in every game from August 4th on. That's a streak of 17 games -- quite a feat. Yet in that stretch, the Sox have gone an impressive 11-6. Of the six losses, the bullpen only got two of them, and have actually gone 6-2 in that stretch. So they're vulturing a bunch of wins, and they're preventing the Sox to get back into the game when the starter is shaky, but the Sox still have been managing to win in spite of their bullpen. Which is nice, I guess, but you can't expect it to continue in the postseason.

On a related note, one of Torre's big faults the last few seasons has been his uncreative use of the bullpen. If he deems the game winnable, it's Quantrill ('04) /Sturtze ('05), then Gordon, and then Rivera. We saw what happened to those three last year, with their collapses happening in August, September, and October (respectively); there are some indications that it may be happening again. But that was the Yankees, so it was, you know, awesome.

Let's pray the same thing isn't happening to Mike Timlin...


  1. I don't agree with the "you can't play this way in the postseason" thing. I especially don't buy it this year.

    Firstly, who is the competition in the AL with the starters that will keep this lineup down?

    The team with the "best" bullpen has been struggling mightily. That could be from overuse. I am speaking of the Angels. They were rocked for 4 in the ninth last night (but still won). They've blown lots of leads lately. Then their starters...Colon then who exactly? Washburn, Santana, Byrd? Don't you think that Clement, Wakefield, Arroyo, Schilling, Wells compare?

    The White Sox are falling apart. They might make it to the postseason and turn it around but Hermanson does nothing for me...

    I, for one, am expecting Foulke to have a huge impact on the race and the postseason. He doesn't throw that hard to begin with and as long as he can balance he should be able to hit his spots.

    Also, the Sox starters are good, as good as just about anyone else in the league. My guess? If Garland and Buerhle are in the East they aren't that good.

    Wells is a solid postseason guy. He is huge in big games. Arroyo leads the league in quality starts which means he should give us more than a fighting chance. Schilling is more than likely to be a quality start pitcher. Will he be the ace from last year? No, but I expect 6-7 innings with 3-4 runs. We still have Clement and Wakefield. Plus someone will move to the pen.

    I think that this team can bash their way through the playoffs. We've played well against all these teams already and they have the second best record in the AL.

    The Sox have the most runs scored after the seventh. They have an unbelievable last game of a series record (which shows that they improve as they learn bullpens)...28-12 I believe. That is by far the best.

    It is not ideal for them to enter the postseason with a struggling pen, but I'd be confident going against other teams with the following...



  2. The sox will go as far as their hitting takes them. Their pitching is much, much worse than last year. I doubt we could expect the types of starts we say in the first three and last 8 games, nor the consecutive socreless innings we saw in the last seven of 2004.

    Even the most optimistic (i.e., Mr. Grieve) fan has to have serious concerns about this staff. Much of the previous comment is predicated on Schilling and Foulke approaching (forget duplicating) their 2004 levels.
    Which neither has done all year. Like Bob ryan wrote this morning - "It is conceivable (conceivable, according to Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, meaning ''capable of being imagined or thought.")

    Minor disputes:

    Arroyo leads the league in QS?

    I think he leads the Sox, but not the league. I read this weekend that the Angels and the White Sox were tied for the team lead.

    If the White Sox get their act together, they actually have a decent pen (maybe even better than ANA). Sure Hermanson is not your power closer, but he sure is getting the job done - and they have some great power arms. Marte, Politte, Jenks, even Neal Cotts.

    I would love to see this team repeat, but I do think they have to do a lot of fine tuning over the next 6 weeks.

  3. To follow up on an earlier conversation, has a team ever gone deep into October with a really shaky bullpen? It's easy enough to say "With the Sox's hitting they don't need a good bullpen"...but the Sox's hitting in 2005 is about the same as it was in 2004. And in 2004 they REALLY needed the bullpen to be in top form. In Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS the bullpen gave up just ONE RUN in 14 2/3 innings. That is insane. Make it just TWO runs (which would still be a phenomenal achievement), and the Yankees win the series, and go on to the WS.

  4. How about the 2001 D-backs?

    Of course BK sucked so bad they had to go to the unit on zero days rest. The rest of their pen was forgettable, although not down right awful.

  5. Okay, the 2001 DBacks are a good example. But my guess is that only worked because Arizona had two workhorses in their starting rotation. It was basically a three-man rotation, and in 6 out of 7 games the starter lasted at least 7 innings.

    ...Somehow I don't see that scenario unfolding for the 2005 Red Sox.

  6. "Somehow I don't see that scenario unfolding for the 2005 Red Sox."

    We haven't even had starters go 7 innings in 6 games this month. Let along 6 games in 10 days.

  7. The D-Backs' pen in '01 was actually pretty good. 4th in the NL and 9th the majors with a 3.84 ERA, 2nd/7th in OPSA, t-1st/4th in WHIP... and Kim, though he's only remembered for Tino, Jeter, and Brosius, had a 2.94 ERA that year with 113 K's and 44 BB's in 98 innings (at age 22). He was even quite good in the playoffs, going a combined 11 innings, striking out 10, walking 5, with a 4.09 ERA, all of which came on those HR's. There was a reason we traded for him; back then he was a very good pitcher.

  8. I still think their pen was not that strong. Remember Schilling and the Unit each pitched a ton of innings that year. And that allowed the pen to not have to be that taxed.

    Mantei getting hurt was a big blow to that pen. And yes BK was a very good young pitcher, but the rest of those guys were forgettable (Swindell, Mike Morgan)