Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Undependables

Keywords: Red Sox, Boston Red Sox, bullpen, baseball sarcasm

We now hear that David Wells' plantar fasciitis now relieves the Sox of the 'too many starters' problem, and the Sox need a spot starter tonight, to complement the undependables. If the starter gets in trouble early, that puts the Sox in bigger trouble, expending relief innings.

Many Sox fans are saying "Be patient, the Sox have quality pitchers out there. They'll come around." On the other hand, to paraphrase Billy Beane, "if he's such a good pitcher, why doesn't he pitch better?" Keith Foulke inevitably takes the lion's share of the abuse, although he hasn't been the biggest problem. He just happens to make the most money, making him an easy target, and also lacks media savoir faire, allowing him to get lit up not only on the mound but in the press.

Foulke's handiwork pales in comparison to that of 'Wild Thing' Matt Mantei (Steve Blass disease confirmed last night) and Alan Embree, who admittedly seems to be gradually turning the ocean liner of pitching command and control around.

The hard-earned luxury of recent road success has created a potentially damning environment permitting the Sox to squander their momentum by playing not only losing but poor baseball. The Indians came to town and pitch-slapped the locals before Tim Wakefield, abetted by Nixon, Mirabelli, and Bellhorn stopped the slide. Last night Matt Clement lacked his best stuff, but indecisive defense by Edgar Renteria opened a crack in the dam, and the rest of the Jays exploited it and the bullpen to the tune of 15-2.

Panic mode? Let's hope not. I hope Theo tries to fill the gap from within, rather than making a Larry Andersen type move as a faulty and futile panacea. "He who panics first, panics best."

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