Rookie Jon Lester didn't get a win yesterday. Neither did the Red Sox. Lester wasn't great, overthrowing at times, but he wasn't as bad as he looked, as the defense was anything but spectacular behind him (Kevin Youkilis for example, turning a popup into a 'double'). Still, Lester had two things that we haven't seen from a lefthander around here in a VERY long time - a swing and miss fastball, and a hard breaking pitch. I'm not saying he's Steve Carlton or Ron Guidry, just that hitters can't go up there expecting the soft stuff.
Francona-like emphasizing the positive, a few guys are starting to swing the bat better, including Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek. On th other hand, David Ortiz, despite the 15 homers and 51 RBI, hasn't really hit his stride.
Manny Ramirez (.993), Youkilis (.943), Mike Lowell (.930), and Ortiz all are in the top 25 of OPS.
From a team offense perspective, the Sox are seventh in run (4th in runs per game) and fourth in OPS. They are third in wins in the AL, seventh in ERA, but third in K/BB, which often predicts future ERA better than ERA itself.
Where is the roster going? In other words, who's staying, who's going, and who's on the bubble in the evaluation (first third of the season), acquisition (second third), and stretch run perspective.
Catchers (2). Varitek and Mirabelli are staying.
Infield (5). Lowell, Gonzalez and Cora, Loretta and Youkilis.
Outfield (5). Crisp, Manny, and Nixon going nowhere. Wily Mo health dependent, with Kapler starting higher level rehab.
DH (1) - are you kidding?
That leaves Willie Harris and JT Snow on the bubble at best.
Starting pitching (5) Health is always an issue, and it's not just physical health, but confidence that determines the long run. Schilling and Wakefield are the healthiest physically and psychologically. Who would have thought we would even consider Josh Beckett a question mark? I say Beckett regains his touch. Clement, Lester, and Pauley battling for the last two spots.
Closer (1) Papel-bon appetit. Could we ask for more.
7th to 8th (2) Timlin and Foulke both health risks now.
Middle (3) Ends in Z-squad. Seanez has pitched better than Tavarez recently, but both have performed as the same inconsistent guy. Both average about 14.5 baserunners per nine innings. Neither inspires a lot of confidence. Seanez' K/BB ratio gives him the nod. I believe that Delcarmen has better stuff than either of them, but it's hard to show it without work. Riske is risky and Hansen is frisky, and I like Hansen's chances of being there better than Riske's.
In other words, health-allowing, I like Papelbon, Timlin and Foulke (the designated lefty guy), Seanez, Delcarmen, and Hansen to be there. Maybe the Cardinals, Giants, or some NL team will take Tavarez back.
Growth Hormone. Excessive amounts of endogenous growth hormone creates a disease, acromegaly. Big hands, big head, and some problems like diabetes and eventually heart trouble. As far as I can see, neither the NFL or the MLBPA is interested in a level playing field. Rumors always had it that Michael Jordan's baseball experiment was a closet gambling suspension. Sometimes it's not what you know but who you hang around with. Roger Clemens has missed over 50 games for the Astros. Kinda makes you wonder, and I'm not the only one wondering. Probably not, because the MLB leadership reminds me of the Boneless Chicken Farm, spineless through and through.