Tuesday, August 17, 2004
As the season winds down, he can expect to be working like this more often. Asked how often he could pitch multiple innings, Foulke said, "It depends how fluid I am. If I'm doing things well mechanically, I can do it, no doubt."
Yesterday, I advocated for Tito to pitch Foulke more than just the ninth inning with the lead. As we know, Foulke was brought on in the eighth with the Sox up by only one run with the top of the Jays lineup ready to stroll up to the plate. Tito used his relief ace perfectly, and then funked it up.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Sox pounded out three more runs. After Damon’s triple putting the club up by three, Myers and Mendoza or Adams should have been warming up. Myers should have begun the ninth to face Hinske with Mendoza or Adams as his backup. There is no need to waste Foulke when the club is up by three runs with the bottom of the order due up and only three outs are necessary for the win. Even the worst of pitchers have a difficult time giving up two runs in an inning or an E.R.A. of 18.00. If you believe, which I do not, in the theory that the last three outs are the toughest to get no matter what, then Mendoza or Adams would have been sufficient. Mendoza saved games on and off for the MFY and Adams periodically closed for the Cubs. Tito wasted an inning of Foulke. Foulke has to pitch the most critical innings the rest of the season. Yesterday's ninth was not one of them.
Back to the Future
Lowe struck out seven (matching his season high), including the side in the third inning. He threw 103 pitches, 68 for strikes. He walked only one and hit the one batter.
Lowe mowed them down like it was 2000. It has been at least two years since I have witnessed that much late movement, causing swing and misses, from DLowe. Even if this kind of stuff isn’t with him every outing, it appears that Lowe’s mechanics and control issues are behind him. A solid six innings of pounding the strike zone with that sinker will be a boost for this club.
Minky at second
275/366/407 hitters at second base provide value for a club. Hitters that slug 407 as a LHB while playing their home games at the Metrodome (327 down the RF line and 367 R-C gap) don’t provide much over a replacement level hitter player at first. If Minky can move right on the defensive spectrum, it makes him a more valuable asset for the Red Sox. Of course, some issues are present as well.
1. Minky will need a spring training at second for everyone to feel comfortable.
2. The Sox already have a regular second baseman, Mark Bellhorn, and a backup, Bill Mueller (assuming his very reasonable option at $2.1 million is picked up), for next season.
3. Minky will earn $4.2 million ($3.75 salary + .45 buyout) in 2005.
Even though Minky’s versatility causes another log jam - 2B and 3B - to go along with the 1B/DH/LF one, it provides Theo with more options for the future.