Red Sox Reflections After 25 games
- Updated: May 6, 2009
After 25 games, the Red Sox found themselves with an 11 game winning streak and neck and neck for first place, with the Blue Jays who have 2 more games in hand than the Sox (both are wins).
During the first few weeks of the season, we have seen the injury bug hit SS Jed Lowrie, SP Daisuke Matsuzaka and OF Rocco Baldeli.
We have also seen great starts be Jon Lester, Justin Masterson in the rotation for Dice-K and 3 straight great outings from the old man of the current staff (until Smoltz gets here), Tim Wakefield until his last outing in Tampa Bay. Masterson had been almost masterful in the pen before these few spot starts, too! Lester has been up and down as of late.
On the other side of the ball, 1B Kevin Youkilis has adjusted to his new slot of 4th in the batting order quite nicely as he is one of the hottest hitters in the game right now. After a slow start, 2B & last year’s MVP Dustin Pedroia is now looking more like himself at the plate. Likewise, Jacoby Ellsbury, “the human spark plug“, has recently begun to get on base regularly and currently leads the majors in steals after stealing home against the battery of NY’s Andy Pettite & Jorge Posada on April 25th, in the 5th inning with the bases loaded. On top of that, LF Jason Bay has been making opposing pitchers pay in late innings of a close game by hitting .677 with an OBP of .778 and SLG 2.167. Last, but not least, C Jason Varitek may not be improving in the area of BA so far, but his power stroke looks to be back with 4 HRs (1 a Grand Slam against NY) and his OBP is above.320 once again. Over the last week he’s been hitting closer to where we all expect him to hit, .231 (he should be closer to .250 in about a month or so) and his OBP is over .350.
Before his injury, SS Lowrie was lagging at the plate, unlike his numbers in spring training and DH David “Big Papi” Ortiz is having his usual terrible start as his April BA over the past three years has been .257.
Leading the new and improved bullpen is newly acquired Ramon Ramirez who came over to Boston in the Coco Crisp trade this off season. He had not allowed a run to score in his first 15 innings so far in Boston (as of 5/3/09) with a WHIP of 0.67. He has 2 wins, 3 holds and 8 K’s as well. Next in the pen is Manny Delcarmen who has shown why Boston did not trade him in the off season as he has an ERA of just 0.63, but does have a concerning WHIP of 1.33, 1 win, 1 hold and 12 K’s in over 14 innings of work thus far. After a few shaky outings early on, closer Jonathan Papelbon has settled down with 6 saves to go along with his 1.74 ERA, 10 K’s in over 10 innings, but what concerns me is his 1.35 WHIP which needs to be lowered in order to remain his dominant self. Rounding out the heros of the pen so far is 25 year old, Hunter Jones who has been a nice surprise thus far. He’s sporting a 2.84 ERA, a WHIP of 0.63, 1 hold and 6 K’s in his 6+ innings of work to date.
So far, the few disappointments out of the pen have been Okajima (4.63 ERA 1.54 WHIP), Saito (5.00 ERA 1.67 WHIP) and Lopez (9.39 ERA 2.74 WHIP). Out of this trio, only Saito has a reason to be optimistic as he is returning from arm/shoulder issues and is one of the many Boston reclamation projects of 2009.
Here are 4 pitchers from AAA Pawtucket that might make an impact on the 2009 Sox (stats again are from 5/3/09 as seen below). Bowden and Buchholtz should be familiar to most of you and would be at the major league level on almost any other team in baseball. Both, as you can see, have ERA’s under 2.00 and WHIP’s of 1.00 or under. They have struck out a combined 35 batters in 40 innings (8 starts/4 each). Next are Fernando Cabrera and fast rising star Daniel Bard who is a flame thrower, topping the radar guns at 100 mph at times. They have combined for 6 saves and Bard alone has K’d 23 in 13.2 innings of work. These 2 guys also have ERA’s under 2.00 and WHIP’s of 1.00 or under. Bard is most likely to become Papelbon’s 8th inning set up man with those numbers!
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