Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Halfway to the post-season

After 82 games the Boston Red Sox are 51-31 and on a pace for 102 wins this season. At the writing of this, the Angels (51-31) were losing to Texas and the Indians (50-32) were locked in a tie with Detroit. If the score remains the same in the Angels game and no matter the result of the Indians, then the Sox retake the mantle of having the best record in baseball.

The Sox owe this to two things, being in the top six in hitting in spite of carrying the light hitting Julio Lugo (.191), and players like JD Drew, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz hitting below their career averages. The other - their pitching. Currently they're tied for fourth in team ERA at a 3.71 (not including tonight's game). After tonight's win, Daisuke Matsuzaka is the team's second ten game winner, joining Josh Beckett (11-2), and the team has three pitchers with at least eight wins (Tim Wakefield at 8-8).

With their ten game cushion, and an injury to the recently surging Coco Crisp, the Sox have been able to audition prospect Jacoby Ellsbury at the major league level. With David Murphy available at Pawtucket, one has to question why Ellsbury was promoted.

Was it with the idea to increase his trade value in order to make a big splash before the trade deadline?

Was it to audition him for the majors in order to see how expendable Crisp is?

If it's the former, then the Sox can expect flak for that trade given the play he made on the passed ball against Texas. If it's the latter, then the Sox are acknowledging that the future is now in their quest for a second World Series title this decade.

Considering the way the offense has sputtered lately, the latter might not be a bad thing. Ellsbury may very well provide the Sox the spark they have been needing as well as the true lead-off hitter they have been missing. He may even succeed in taking the pressure on Lugo, which in turn might allow Lugo to get back on track.


falcon02520 said...

I think Epstein will look to make a move before the deadline, but it won't be a huge one if we still have a ten game lead.

And you are right, something will happen in center field (even if its not until the off season).

Kevin Smith said...

I have to admit, I'm puzzled as to the reported interest in Brad Lidge, a back end of the bullpen guy when they have Okajima and Paplebon at the back end...unless they see lidge as a successor to Timlin who has been inconsistent this season.

Centerfield...I say they gotta keep Ellsbury, so I'd rather see them make a move with Crisp...maybe Crisp and another player for Lidge? Hard to say.

falcon02520 said...

Kevin, thanks for adding me as a link on your blog. Can you please read my three thousand five hundred post and tell me what you think? I value your opinion.

Dave said...

I agree. Crisp has to go over Ellsbury. He's proven that he can play in Boston. But who do you throw in with Crisp?

Kevin Smith said...

I'm thinking there has to be at least one prospect, probably pitching. I just don't see the need for Lidge.

Dave said...

My issue with Lidge isn't that he's not a good pitcher, but that he has stated repeatedly he wants to close. That is obviously not going to happen in Boston, where he'd be a third choice behind Papelbon and Oki.

sugarshane024 said...

I see the Sox definitely making a move at the deadline. The degree of the deal...I'm not sure. I'd like to see the Sox bring in a CF, but they won't make a move for a three-month rental, unless they plan on signing that guy long-term which would leave Ellsbury on the outs. The Sox have repeatedly said that Ellsbury is not going anywhere, so I don't see that happening.

I would like to see the Sox make a move for a middle reliever. Someone like Akinori Otsuka, Scot Shields, or Scott Linebrink. The bullpen has good arms w/ Paps, Oki, Delcarmen, and Donnelly, but Timlin and Pineiro can't be trusted.