Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Even though the Sox tried to work out a deal for the OBP machine - Brian Giles, Wake is down and Buchholz sucks which prompted the trade for Paul Byrd, their biggest need is still finding a consistent reliever in the eighth. Unlike the rotation (Colon, Bowden, Byrd) and the bench (Chris Carter, Jeff Bailey), the Sox do not have possibilities in or outside of the organization to set up Papelbon. So Paps should man up and go two innings under certain circumstances like in 2006.
The conditions are fairly simple – up by one or two runs going into the eighth, when he did not pitch the night before. Papelbon should only pitch under these circumstances unless an off day is tomorrow. By not going in for the cheap save (a.k.a. up by three runs and one inning of work), Paps should be available more often for two inning outings. Okajima, Delcaremen, etc. can close out the game when the Olde Towne Team has a larger margin for error. Without an equally effective reliever this season, Tito needs to more judicially deploy his best – Papelbon – from here on out.
Paul Byrd is a nice acquistion as it would seem that the Sox paid very little – PTBNL or cash – for the vet. The “or cash” part should mean that the PTBNL is not a prospect. With that being said, Byrd is unlikely to be a savior. He cleared waivers for a reason. Even if we ignore the small sample size issue of only four starts and 28 innings that the MSM is touting, Byrd has a 12/7 K/BB ratio and 37/39 GB/FB during that time period. And those are not good numbers.