Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The dividends of youth

For the second straight night the Red Sox battered Texas pitching, scoring eight runs through the first five innings. Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, and Jed Lowrie accounted for six batted in of the eight runs. The three of them make for an average age of 27.33 years old (approximately). Youkilis and Bay are both 29, Lowrie is 24.

The 25 year old Dustin Pedroia had another two hits tonight and is now 7 for 11 against Texas pitching.

But more importantly, 24 year old Jon Lester was in shutdown mode for seven and a third innings only one day after the spot-starter and bullpen immolated. Lester gave the bullpen a much needed break.

However, Mike Timlin poured gas on the fire in the eighth, failing to record an out before giving up one earned run of his own, and allowing two inherited runners to score - screwing an otherwise beautiful start by Lester who got the two runs credited to his ERA.

Even Justin Masterson, 23, got in on the win with a scoreless ninth.

I've noted this before, but there is a definite "the future is now" vibe that the Sox have with homegrown youngsters like Masterson, Lester, Pedroia, Lowrie, Ellsbury (24), and Youkilis leading a contingent of ten Red Sox' minor league products on the major league roster.

This is what Brian Cashman wants, what he is aiming for with the likes of Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain. It, so far, is not what he has received.

And it has made the difference.

As the Yankees have struggled with injuries and age, the Sox have managed to engage in plug-and-play with their youngsters, who have performed. Take one look at Kennedy and Hughes. Neither has performed.

As a matter of fact, neither was ready for the majors, and now the Yankees are relying on the likes of Sidney "The Pontoon" Ponson, and Daryl Rasner for whenever they begin their playoff drive. If these guys make up 40 percent of your rotation, the post-season is a long-shot. At best.

But these are the dividends the Sox have received for not rushing the young guns to the majors - Clay Buchholz not withstanding. And it's exactly why they should be in the thick of it next year as well.

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