Monday, May 4, 2009

State of the Sox

This might be the week of run downs. I’ve been slacking on running down anything other than my own energy level and immune system. That ends now. I may make this an entire week of run down entries, with the local dive bar scene my next stop. No promises, though.

We’re a month into the season and it’s time to check on the state of my beloved Red Sox.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

BRIGHT SPOTS

George Kottaras: Playing well enough that Varitek now gets rested more often; not just when Wakefield pitches. Average is still below .200 but has been hitting the ball well of late. Considering he’s only 25, it looks like the catcher’s job after Varitek retires could be in good hands.

Kevin Youkilis: .407, 6 HR, 20 RBIs. Seems he’s not taking losing the MVP to his teammate very well at all. Sore loser.

Dustin Pedroia: Still being a pain in the ass to every pitcher he faces.

Mike Lowell: While he’s still limping around the bases a bit, it seems like his hip has recovered enough not to affect his play.

Jason Bay: Putting the fear of god into every AL pitcher the first month of the season. Even hitting shots to the opposite field this year. Manny who?

Nick Green: Considering I didn’t know this guy was on our team until Lowrie went on the DL, his .304 average and stellar defense have been the most pleasant surprise of the young season. Plus wifey thinks he’s cute which allows me to watch more games.

The Bullpen: Ramirez is worth 4 Coco Crisps; Delcarmen looks like he’s finally put it all together (forgetting yesterday); Papelbon has 6 saves already (more on him below), Hunter Jones has been thrown into the fire and extiguished it with his own urine; Okajima, Saito, I could go on.

Tim Wakefield: 4 quality starts out of 5. 2.91 ERA and looking nearly unhittable at times. Sadly, we all know it won’t last. There will be a few games with 500 foot home runs for the opposing team. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he pulls a Cliff Lee this year.

Justin Masterson: Excusing the grand slam he gave up to Longoria over the weekend, this kid has done everything asked and excelled.


HUNG JURY

Jon Lester & Josh Beckett: Off to rough starts, but they’ve thrown better of late. Should still have good seasons as long as there isn’t something physically wrong with them. Beckett, I'm looking at you.

Jason Varitek: .250/15-20 HRs/70-90 RBIs from him would be both the happiest surprise of the year and the best year from a member of the walking dead in major league history. And, yes, he’s on pace for this kind of year.

JD Drew: Something seems to be wrong with him. Still looks good at times, but he’s ‘off’ a bit.

Jacoby Ellsbury: Wreaking havoc on the basepaths and hitting much better, but he needs to start working the pitch counts. A .310 on base percentage from your leadoff hitter and fastest runner ain’t going to cut it.

Brad Penny: With the exception of his first start, he’s been keeping the Sox in games. Pretty much all you want out of your number 5 starter. Still, keep expecting better things from him. Maybe he’s just rusty and learning a new league.


CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Roco Baldelli: Already on the DL.

Jed Lowrie: Even before the wrist injury, the kid was hitting below .100. Yeah, that’s a one.

Papelbon: Walks are up this season as he seems to be nibbling at the corners of the plate rather than just gunning his fastball and challenging hitters. Feel like there is something going on here as the Sox have been babying him. Undisclosed injury?


TIME FOR A CHANGE

David Ortiz: How long does he stay in the number 3 spot? Still no home runs (although I’ll bet that changes in the new Yankee Stadium tonight) and he’s been hovering around .200 all year. Looks confused and over matched at the plate no matter who is pitching to him. This isn’t just a slump, this is sad.

Julio Lugo: NOTE: I am so pissed that Lugo is playing I can’t even discuss it rationally. Prepare for rant.

So atrocious in the field he has become a defensive liability. Two errors in yesterday’s game cost the team two runs and the game. Even fundamental plays (like catching the ball) are lost on him. With two outs in yesterday’s game, a man on third, Carl Crawford hits a grounder right to Lugo. Now, I know Crawford is fast so you would think Lugo would rush straight at the ball. Instead he semi circles around it, scoops it up and – in a play every Sox fan saw coming – threw it into the ground about 10 feet in front of Youkilis. Even our gold glove first basemen had no chance to catch it. This was the second error from Lugo that cost the Red Sox a run. The first was him dropping a sure double play ball that allowed the runner from third to score instead of ending the inning.

Lugo is quite simply needs to sit or be released. When your worst defensive player is manning the single most important defensive position on the field red flags should be speeding right up ownership's ass. I don’t care that he’s making 14 million this year. Get rid of him!

By the way, if you want to make the argument that he’s rusty and coming off knee surgery, please note that he was playing the exact same way last season before he was injured. Every play is an adventure with Lugo as he barely ever squares up to throw the ball. His throws to first are either in the dirt or 10 feet over someone’s head.

It might be excusable if he could hit, but he’s currently 90 points below Nick Green’s average who’s far and away the better defensive shortstop. Right now the Red Sox shortstop depth chart should look like this:

1: Nick Green
2: Jed Lowrie
3: Kevin Youkilis
4: Injured Jed Lowrie with one hand.
5: Some kid from AA
6: Ted Williams’ frozen head
7: Lugo

Ok, I’m done. I feel a little better.

But be sure that Lugo’s next error will send my blood pressure skyrocketing again. Or think of me bashing my head against the wall when he bounces yet another meatball pitch 3 feet in front of the plate for a ground out with men on first and third and one out. It will happen. Mark my words.


Today’s distraction: Some pretty caves. I thought these were paintings when I first viewed them.

5 comments:

Clayton Bigsby said...

Ortiz has no bat speed. He needs to use the Dominican connections to get some amphetamines or something. I bet he's 40.

Paps K's are down and BB's are up each year. He need to learn how to get outs like Mo, Nathan, and Hoffman. Those guys pitch to contact, you just can't get good contact.

I like that you spend the most time on Julio Lugo.

BeachBum said...

As much as it pains me to admit it, I have to lump Ortiz in with the 'suspected' PED users. Seems odd that his performance declines and he suffers a strange wrist injury immediately after mandatory testing goes into place.

Lugo just brings out the passion in me. In the exact wrong way it should come out. If my boys ever hear 'mother FUCKER!' out of my mouth it will be because Lugo failed to turn a double play in the playoffs with the game on the line.

Hammen said...

I was gonna write a whole post on Lugo at some point, we'll see now, it would mostly be regurgitating what you said about him. In my whole life, I can only think of two players on my own favorite teams that I literally HATED....hint: Lugo is one of them.

Alex also thinks that Nick Green is cute.

thepowerof10 said...

Tim Wakefield has always amazed me to be quite honest. As one of the majors' only successful knuckleballers, he has made a hell of a career for himself, especially considering he doesn't throw any more than 65 mph. But yeah, you're probably right about a collapse. Jim Thome will hit a power shot half way to Connecticut off him and he will probably crumble after that.

BeachBum said...

My father and I talked about Wakefield over the weekend. I was wondering if he might be the last knuckleballer we'll see. He told me there is a knuckle ball pitcher in the Red Sox' farm system that is still trying to perfect things.

Which means Wakefield may retire at some point (although he could pitch until he's 50 at this point) and be kept on just to mentor this young knuckle baller.