Wednesday, June 16, 2004
The Sox have used six starters this season but really only five. BK had only three starts and threw eleven innings. BK’s performance has been terrible. Now onto the other five, the three defense independent stats are listed and addressed when evaluating performance. Team defense will be evaluated at a later date.
Pitcher (IN, GS, R/9, K/9, BB/9, HR/9) – Stats pre-Mile High
• Curt Schilling – (92 / 13 / 3 / 7.9 / 1.4 / .6) – As expected Schil has been solid to dominate in every outing but one in Toronto. He has been the Sox most consistent and quality starter. Hopefully, the ankle issue will not slow him down.
• Pedro Martinez – (90 / 14 / 4 / 8.8 / 2.3 / 1) – Pedro’s only real performance issue has been the uncharacteristic number of homers allowed. Until recently, he was giving up tall jacks at an alarming rate. Not sure why, but don’t really care now. It seems like the real Petey is here to stay!
• Derek Lowe – (63 / 12 / 7.4 / 4.2 / 4.3 / .6) – Lowe’s struggles have been well documented but the primary cause, his mental state, is incorrect. It was his and Pedro’s mechanics that was…out of kilter in the beginning of their deliveries, getting themselves over the rubber and eventually allowing their left legs to drift not to the plate but toward the first-base on deck circle. "I was giving hitters a free look," says Lowe. "I can't believe how such a simple thing can get messed up," says Lowe. "But it happens. The important thing is to keep us in games the rest of the season." Lowe’s poor mechanics is also the reason for his loss of control. But now Lowe knows what the problem is and “knowing is half the battle.”
• Tim Wakefield – (74 / 11 / 5.2 / 5 / 3.4 / .73) – After a very good April, Wake’s been struggling. Unlike other bouts of ineffectiveness, the reason may be a lack of stuff and not control or the long-ball. Wake’s K-rate is at its lowest ever as a member of the Sox. The last time, he was under seven strikeouts per nine was in 2000. Wake averaged 1.75 dingers over nine and R/9 over six that season. It doesn’t take a math geek to know that the extra homer is the difference in Wake’s current R/9 and his 2000 mark. With a knuckleballer that stat could jump at anytime, Wake needs to pickup his game.
• Bronson Arroyo – (55 / 9 / 6.4 / 6.3 / 2.6 / 1.1) – Arroyo peripheral numbers are right where PECOTA pegged him. He has probably gotten a little unlucky in the R/9 category, but after his solid performance against the MFY in the playoffs (3.1 innings giving up 1 run), RSN expected an under four ERA and 10-12 wins. We had unrealistic expectations based on a wicked small sample size. RSN forgot Arroyo was claimed off of waivers from the powerhouse club in Steel Town. Above league average pitchers usually are not found on the tree belt. Arroyo is a #5 starter and a good one, just not a #3.
If Schilling is healthy and Petey and DLowe have worked out the kinks in their mechanics, the rotation will be fine. The Sox won’t be tempted to sell the farm for a Kris Benson or Freddy Garcia. If Wake or Kim do not step it up (I am very confident Wake be cash $ soon), then it should not be much of an issue finding a back of the rotation starter.
Reading Between Theo's Lines
• The ones that actually help you win are the ones where you actually acquire an impact player. Trading prospects we really like that have a bright future and are really going to help us for a spare part or two probably isn't the way to go.
Beltran is certainly an "impact player” for some clubs but not for the Sox with their potential log jam in the outfield/DH/1B positions. Randy Johnson is a different story.
• What I want is a steady supply of talent to the big league level every year, two or three players, and I want better organizational depth. I think we've made great strides in those areas that by two years from now with our college draft we're going to be right where we should be.
If the minor league system continues to progress, the Sox may take a few chances on high schoolers next year.
• "If it were not for the mess surrounding the Brandon Lyon trade, we probably wouldn't have done it," he said. "Part of that deal was the resolution of the Lyon matter. In the end, it hasn't hurt us yet because Freddy came down with a pretty severe foot injury and hasn't been able to play at all this year. That's the one I'd like back."
Thanks, Dr. Morgan and your contract runs through...
• If Schilling should go down and pitching is too expensive on the market, said Epstein, "We won't be afraid to take a talented kid out of Double A if he has the right makeup where he won't be affected by pitching in the big leagues."
Bringing up Chris Smith or Abe Alvarez would likely be the last option for a number of reasons: 1) it would likely require a roster move since neither player is on the Sox 40-man roster, 2) BK or Mendoza could be ready by next Saturday against Philly when a fifth starter would be needed, 3) One of the long relievers (DiNardo, Malaska, Brown, etc.) could go four or five innings in a start if the pen conditions were right.
Theo may be trying to hype-up these two AA arms rather than preparing RSN for a youngster pitching in the first inning (Lester hitting the DL reduced Theo’s chip count at the trading table). Smith and Alvarez are not big, tall, flame throwers that most clubs are interested in when making deals.
Other news and notes
• Gammons hits the nail right on the head with this tidbit from his chat: Catching the Yankees is an unfortunate obsession of New Englanders, fed by ownership playing to paranoia.
It is in poor taste that the Sox are marketed with the MFY so much. The team, the Fenway experience and the game itself should be enough.
• Will Carroll notes that The Yanks expect that Mussina and Brown (strained back) will only miss one start. The back strain that Mariano Rivera started feeling earlier in the week kept him out of Sunday's game. The Yanks will turn to Tom Gordon if they feel Rivera needs more rest, but at this point, team sources feel he won't need a DL stint.
The health status of the MFY starters and Jose Contreras doing his best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde impression will only increase the price for pitching. An update, Brown was put on the DL with a strained back. He will miss at least two starts. On a personal note, I had a strained shoulder. I am out of the money again.
• Two questions for Tito: Why pitch to Helton when Wilson and Walker are on the DL and why put men in motion - you have not all season for good reason - and take a chance giving away outs when your club is playing in the greatest hitter's park ever? Are you k$%*ing kidding me?