Monday, May 14, 2007

Some thoughts on sports in the aftermath of a brewfest...

Getting some distance...
Trying to resist the feeling that is starting that it could be a pretty special season in the Back Bay this year. Boston's six run ninth, the Mother's Day Massacre of the Baltimore Orioles had that sort of magic feel that the Patriots had during the Super Bowl run when Troy Brown was playing nickel for them.

36 games into the season and the Red Sox have the best winning percentage in the majors. Arch-nemesis Yankees? Right now they're tenth overall in the 14-team American League, beating out only Tampa Bay, Toronto, Texas, and Kansas City.

The Sox? They're doing their damage even with five regulars batting below .260 - Julio Lugo (.259), JD Drew (.257), Manny Ramirez (.250), Dustin Pedroia (.247), and Coco Crisp (.221).

The only two negatives from the weekend - Josh Beckett missing out on getting his eighth straight win, and Beckett possibly missing his next start due to a cut on one of the fingers of his throwing hand.

Ricky Williams is done. Even if he gets reinstated, who is going to take a chance on a 30+ running back with a pot habit?

A matter of time...
If Julian Tavarez keeps pitching like he has, it's only a matter of time before they replace him with Jon Lester. Tavarez has been the week link in what has otherwise been the best rotation in baseball. The Sox fifth starter has had only one start in which he has lasted at least six innings and gave up less than three earned runs.

The result, a 1-4 record with a 6.60 ERA. The next worst amongst the starters - Daisuke Matsuzaka with a 4-2 record and a 4.80 ERA. The others, Tim Wakefield (4-3, 1.79), Curt Schilling (4-1, 3.63), Beckett (7-0, 2.66). Total - Sox starters account for 20 wins and 10 losses. Tavarez accounts for 40 percent of the losses and less than 10 percent of the wins.

Even the bullpen is 5-1, accounting for 40 percent of the Sox total 25 wins. I have a hunch the leash Tavarez is on is getting shorter.


sugarshane024 said...

To be fair to Tavarez, in five of his six starts, he has been paired with the opposing team's #1 starter. Kevin Millwood, Roy Halladay (twice), Johan Santana, and Chien-Ming Wang. Obviously, an opposing pitcher has no bearing on one's own ERA, but if you look closely at the box scores, Tavarez did pitch well enough in those games to keep the Sox close.

That said, I do advocate replacing Tavarez w/ Lester, when he is ready. Moving Tavarez to the pen and putting Lester in the rotation will only make the pitching staff that much stronger.

Kevin Smith said...

Granted, but he has still had only one start that would fall into the definition of a quality start - a quality start is awarded to a starting pitcher who completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs. He's only completed six once this season.

I agree that the Sox would be better served with Lester in the rotation and Tavarez in the pen.