Tuesday, May 03, 2011

One man's perspective of the first month - the good, the bad and the ugly

So a month in and, well, it wasn't the coronation that everyone was expecting.

Editor's note - May is off to a good start. Beating the defending CY Young pitcher and the pitcher who would win the one month 2011 Cy Young in their first two starts. But back to April.


All along, I thought the starters would be about what they were last year. Refer to this post. And I'm sure it is elsewhere in comments, etc.

"Last year. Starters were 70-50 with a 4.17 ERA (6th in league). I think they will be pretty close to that this year. Maybe a tad better. We know they offense is going to score the most or second most runs in the league. So the difference from last year is the bullpen."

Granted its been a bit up and down. Actually down then up. Adn right now the starters are 10-10 3.75. Breaking it down Grieve style:

Lester is the stud he was last year.

Dice-BB has been pretty much Dice-BB. Two awesome outings. And then three outings w 11 IP total. Overall result 3.81 but I expect more of the 5IP Dice than the one hitter Dice.

Lackey overall has been the same 5+ Lackey as last year. But has shown promise in the last three starts.

And that leaves Beckett and Bucholz - who have essentially flip flopped. I also wrote somewhere that I expected either Lester or Bucholz to fade a bit, but Beckett or Lackey to step forward. All of which is kind of happening.

Bottom line - its still early. Some of this will sort itself out. Bucholz is probably hurt, thus the diminished results, but the starting pitching feels like last year.

In short, now that the first week of the rotation getting hammered appears to have been a blip (save Bucholz and the long ball), no need to panic about SP.


This was last year's Achilles. And I don't feel much better about this year's pen. Yet. The ERA of this group 5.02. Jenks and Wheeler were the $$ acquisitions. And they have sucked.

I never thought I would say this. And I shutter a bit as I type it. Thank goodness for Paps. What a shock, the contract year has lit a fire under his ass. Hope he keeps it up. Saves 40 games, including 8 in October. And then some dumbass team pays him $50. And we'll get to hear him trash Boston all winter. But I digress, nice to see him mix it up a bit and not pump all FB.

Bard - again a workhorse with an occasional blip. But clearly Tito trusts him. A lot. As he should.

Dubront (sent to AAA), Oki, Reyes (already cut) - not holding their own either.

Bottom line - they have too much invested in Jenks and Wheeler to not keep running them out there. the scary thing with Jenks is that he can look filthy for a stretch. And then boom lose it. Hopefully they all settle down. And the results will come. If not Theo will keep running new faces into the 1-2 spots he has flexibility with.

And Wake, bless him for that start yesterday, but long term, I don't know how they can keep justifying that roster spot. Especially if some guys are struggling.

Now..... the lineup.

I had visions of going through them all. But not really much point. They will score runs in bunches. Just like they did tonight. Sure they are susceptible to LHP. Particularly starters. But I think that will be fine in the long run. Crawford will be fine. Gonzalez should hit for a bit more power. We;d like Elsbury to get on base a bit more. Pedey and Youk have lower than expected AVG, but their OBP are okay and YOuk's power is there. Drew is Drew. Papi is Papi (Lite).

The only real problem that warrants watching. And I know its a real chorus. Catcher. As much as they talk about how they are being patient, etc. I have to wonder how long they can keep running Salty out there. And if they are really comfortable with Tek catching 3 times per week. He is old. And then if he breaks down, they are screwed. Salty looks lost back there at times. Adn he is in the lineup for his bat. But .204/.259/.259? A week and a half ago, Gammons was saying that it wouldn't surprise him if the Sox made a move back then. I imagine the pressure is only mounting.

Benji Molina is available although he'd cost $$$. Or bring up one of the AA guys. Apparently the Federowicz guy is for real. We'll see.

All told. My bottom line. No need to panic. It was a bad month, but they are starting to show some encouraging signs.

Now if they can just solve C and stay away from LH starters. And apparently it would be nice to play 162 games vs the Angels.


  1. I cannot argue with anything in this post. A Grieve award for you!

    I know they are only 4 out. That is absolutely nothing at this time of year. One thing worries me, though...Is 95 wins the division?

    They are currently 14-16. To state the obvious, that's 30 games into the season, 132 to go. They are 81 games short of 95 wins.

    That's a clip of 81-51 the rest of the way, with a questionable bullpen, and the "same" starting pitching as last year.

    Is a .614 winning percentage possible the rest of the way? Absolutely. Will it take 95 wins to take the East? Probably.

    I am just not that confident right not that they are setup to do it.

  2. I have two thoughts. And they sort of contradict each other.

    First is they don't have to win 95 games. Sure it probably takes that many to win the division. But they only have to make the playoffs. A lot of people thought the Sox would run away w the division, but I felt NY would be tough as always. And they are even with a bunch of guys struggling. I think it will be tight race til the end.

    But here is something pretty funny. To get to those 95 wins. That .614 win percentage. Well since the 2-10 start. They are 13-8. Which works out to...... .619. And it doesn't feel like they are playing at that pace due to the frustrating way they did. The 8 of 9 and the beating three of the best pitchers on consecutive days mixed in with losing 2 of 3 to BAL, losing the 13 game in ugly fashion, back to back pastings Thurs/Fri.

    But the numbers check out. that .619 percentage was done while the pitching was putting up a 2.95 ERA.

  3. Looking forward through the rest of May (including the 2 wins against the twinkies) we need a total of 15 wins to maintain a .614 or better clip. So we need 13 wins with the following series:

    2 away vs. Toronto
    3 away vs. Yankees
    2 home vs. baltimore
    2 home vs. detroit
    3 home vs. cubs
    3 away vs. Cleveland
    4 away vs. Detroit
    2 home vs. white sox

    Being slightly conservative, I can see a split in Toronto (1 win). It's never a good idea to bank on taking a series at Yankee stadium so let's take 1 win (2 wins total). We suck against the O's so another split there (3 wins). Then we have a nice long stretch against the central division, including 6 games against detroit. All in all, we need 10 wins in 14 against the central division. If we split with detroit and take 2 out of 3 against a hot indians team that means we have to sweep the cubs and the chisox.

    So time will tell. This little road trip coming up might be pivotal. If we can sneak 2 out of 3 against the Yankees and maybe sweep the short series with the blue jays that would be huge!

    We have 2 RHP in Drabek and Litsch, so it really all starts tonight!

  4. IMHO - Its all about riding a hot streak and less so much about who you play. They could go into NY and sweep the series just as easily as losing 3 to CLE (hey that already happened). Just as much as we didn't really think they would win 5 of 6 on the west coast swing of that road trip.

    It seems like they finally might be clicking. Aside from that Lackey mess on Friday, the SP just keeps chugging along nicely.

    I do like that 9 game stretch in June of interleague play - Brewers, Padres and Pirates.

  5. X, I see your point about riding the hot streak when it happens.

    Last night was frustrating because they were hanging in the game despite a less than expected performance from Lester.

    It's frustrating to lose, especially when a rookie is responsible. Alas, tonight is another night and we can still walk away with a split.