Thursday, August 19, 2004
The hearings of Tek, Kapler and Nixon are on August 26 to appeal their suspensions stemming from the fist-a-cuffs with the MFY. A ruling on the appeals will likely be handed down in the following days after the trial. Thus, the threesome will likely sit out during the most critical stretch of the season - the nine games against Anaheim, Texas and Oakland.
Nixon is a non-issue. He should try and get his suspension reduced, but it is inconsequential. The Sox can just activate him sometime after September 1st, when rosters expand, and then Trot can serve his suspension while still recovering from his injury. He is unlikely to be ready on September 1st by all accounts. Tek and Kapler are different stories.
Kapler should appeal the ruling. If there is justice in the world, then his time will be reduced. Hopefully, Kapler can serve his time after rosters expand so it would not hurt the club much at all. If not, the trade for Roberts decreases the need for Kapler’s fourth outfielder/defensive replacement/pinch runner attributes. Loosing Kapler for one to two games is not a going to impact the Sox playoff chances.
On the other hand, the Sox brass along with Tek should rethink appealing MLB's original decision. The Sox, similar to the Ortiz situation, can find the best time for Tek to sit out his four games. The alternative is Tek missing time during the crucial nine against the left coast teams.
If Tek began serving his suspension on Tuesday, August 24th with Wake as the scheduled starter, he would essentially miss three games. The Sox would bring up Andy Dominique to backup Whole Bellie and designate Ricky Gutierrez for assignment. Potentially loosing Gutierrez is not meaningful with Bellhorn on a rehab assignment and Pokey participating in baseball activities.
Due to the scheduled starters, the Sox would not loose much with Whole Bellie catching those three games. The Sox would likely want Tek playing against Toronto’s Josh Towers, but in the second game in Detroit versus Jason Johnson Whole Bellie would likely get the start. Tek’s 28 battles with J.J. begin to have some significance when the hitting line is only 143/226/143 - advantage Bellie. Southpaw Mike Maroth is schedule to go after J.J. Tek hits lefties well, but so does Bellie to a tune of 295/365/577 from 01-03. The game against Maroth is a wash; as is for the total of the three games. It is advantageous for Tek to drop his suspension next Tuesday. The club needs him more against the better wild card contending clubs from out West.
• And what would a Red Sox game be without one of Dale Sveum's gaffs, which are fast becoming the Sox' equivalent of those Lenny and Squiggy entrances on Laverne & Shirley: You know it's coming, it's just a question of when.
• Up by four with three outs to go is not a critical situation warranting Foulke’s attention. Considering Foulke pitched in the last two games, Tito made a bad call. He could have had a fully rested Foulke for all three games in Chicago.