Monday, April 10, 2006

The Papelbon Experiment

Ok, so this may be a touchy subject, but...

I think Papelbon should already NOT be our closer. In yesterday's game, his velocity was down and his location was off. I believe that this was a direct result of him pitching the night before and then having to come back and pitch the next afternoon. Now, if he had 24-hours (a night game to night game), he might be better, but he looked pretty bad yesterday.

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Papelbon fan. However, I'd like to see him in more 2-innings pitched situations as a setup man.

Wells is coming back this week, and who knows? He might be great. I certainly think that Wells has a large ego, and he will be focused based on how well the rest of the starting staff has pitched. I expect nothing short of typical Wells.

With that said, I also expect Wells to DL it at some point this year, and I'd prefer Papelbon to DiNardo or Alvarez or Lester in the rotation. Flat out, he's the best choice.

Secondly, it would be easier to replace Papelbon as a setup man than a starter. Delcarmen, Hansen or other (even Lester) could fill that effectively. And let's not forget that Tavarez (when not beating people up) is another great setup man. DiNardo might have a good spot start, but do you want him pitching every fifth day?

Thirdly, Foulke is back. And I will stand by this. He had a great spring. He had a rough first outing, but it wasn't an explosion. Yes, there were some good plays behind him, no doubt...But only one run. His second outing was 10 pitches or so. And he was electric yesterday. His fastball had pop on it...His changeup looked unhittable. He's ready, and he's proven. I was expecting Foulke to come out and finish the game yesterday after that 8th inning. (I think it was a bad idea to bring Papelbon out to start the got even worse after the leadoff double and hit batsman). Where do we go after him? Seanez? Riske? Yikes! Let Foulke start that inning. He was unhittable...

I have no problem with Tavarez, Papelbon, and Timlin being the setup guys. That's 6-innings from a starter...And with this rotation (Schill, Wake, Beckett, Clement, Wells) more times than not, that is nothing. Moving Pap out of the closer role allows you to stretch him out a little for if (and when) he has to move into a starting role. Again, I'd rather have him on the hill than the alternatives. And then you can (as we all really, really want) DFA Riske and bring up Delcarmen.


  1. I pretty much agree with you. But I think right now the experiment Tito, Theo, etc are doing is not with Papelbon - it's with Foulke. Making him pitch in lower stress situations, to get his confidence up. It has to be higher now than it's been in over a year. He'll get a hero's welcome when he first shows up at Fenway, and hopefully he can put 2005 behind him. Once he's back, put him back at closer.

    Just a guess. Man it'd be cool if 2004 Foulke were back.

  2. Foulke's velocity was up....finally. What was it last year, 84-88. It's nice to see him looking sharp. Maybe it's the competition. Regardless, it's a bold move by the Red Sox and, one that is paying off (so far).

  3. Foulke's velocity was up....finally. What was it last year, 84-88. It's nice to see him looking sharp. Maybe it's the competition. Regardless, it's a bold move by the Red Sox and, one that is paying off (so far).

  4. I think there are two questions in play:

    Who is the closer for now? Well, As originally preidcated! we have a closer controversy.

    I still would like to see some consistency with both Foulke and the roll. flip flopping back and forth does nobody any good, not so much because the players can't handle it but because the way it gets talked and talked and talked about it.

    So If foulke consistently shows he can locate the ball and handle pressure, I'm all for him being the closer.

    I can't really get that worked up about Papelbon not being as dominant yesterday he still was at 96-97.

    And having Timlin, Papelbon and Tavarez as set up men will be huge.

    Which leads me to, if (when) one of the starters goes down, I would like to see the spot start go to one of the lesser guys (assuming it is just a few starts or less). Bring up Lester, Alvarez, Dinardo or someone and take the chance with them for one game, rather than moving Papelbon to the rotation and weakening your whole bullpen. Unless they start seeing consistency from Seanez/Riske. I just figure why weaken two positions when you can limit it to one.

    But they can cross that bridge when they get to it.

    For now, lets hope Foulke continues to improve.

  5. And of course I can't spell in the link....

  6. Spellling or no spelling, you made sense. Let Francona make sure Foulkie can be as good as he was yesterday from day to day. And don't kid yourself, he was the '04 Foulke yesterday. But there's no hurry. Let's stand pat with Paps at the back end for a few more appearances. It is ONLY April 10th, last time I checked. And as the Stones wrote and sang, "Time Is On Our Side." Believe it baby!

  7. Right, but Tavarez and Timlin to Foulke with a starting rotation of


    That is fairly devastating...Then throw in Delcarmen or Hansen or Lester as your young guy who can come in and unload for one-inning at a time is good, too.

    Especially if we are talking about 15-days on DL or more...And maybe Wells goes out for 15, and Beckett gets a blister...Then you have 2 spot starters. I think having Papelbon ready to start is more valuable in the long run...You have to think that there are 6-9 starts for someone other than a regular starter with this rotation. I'd rather have Papelbon ready to do that instead of having DiNardo and others.

    Just a preference...Maybe this is like '04, though, when our starters were awesome...except for that .500 span...

  8. Also, Papelbon topped out at 94 yesterday and more consistently hit 91 and 92 with poor location.

    Gibbons popped up a splitter that didn't dive (right over the middle of the plate). If that was Tejada (who was on board because he got hit...and Mora got hit, too, but the ump didn't see it) that ball is still in the air somewhere...

  9. Well, the feed I had yesterday showed Papelbon at 96, so maybe the Sox v Balt telecasts had different guns going.

    This all hinges on Foulke getting back to Foulke. Everything else has a serious downstream affect. If you move Papelbon to the rotation without a dominant Foulke, you essentially have Tavarez and Timlin, which as we saw last year, is not good.

    Hell, even with Foulke back, it would be my preference to keep Papelbon in the pen - that would be 4 great arms and provide for amazing depth.

    I just think if you start messing with the pen, it could affect everything else.

    AND this is all predicated on wells (or someone) getting hurt. Wells did win 15 games for us and always has been a gamer. Maybe age will catch up with him, but maybe not.

    I guess I should take all of this with a grain of salt. Hell, a week ago when Foulke still sucked and Bard could not catch Wake, you wanted to move Wake to the pen, Pap to the rotation and have Timlin close.

  10. In my defense...I didn't want to do that...I think that I even said that more than likely wouldn't happen and it was a "what if" scenario...

    This I am serious about...

    I like Timlin, Tavarez, Foulke, Delcarmen...

    I also agree that Wells is a gamer...but could do a DL stint or two.

    I also know that Clement has a tendency to break down after the first half (and last year MAY have been caused by the line drive).

    Having the ability to not be depending on Papelbon to close, and the flexibility to move him to the starting rotation is very important to this team...

    Unless, of course, the fifth starter becomes Clemens...

  11. Also, I am not saying move Papelbon if Foulke isn't ready...But he sure looks ready.

    I think I might be the only one who think that Game 1 of the year was an abberation...

    His spring training and his other two appearances hold more water for me than Game 1 against Texas...