Saturday, August 05, 2006

Game 109: The problem with pitchers

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8

Pitching woes? Everybody has them. Some teams have trouble at the front of the rotation, some at the 4 and 5 spots, some clubs have been bit hard by the injury bug and others have some inconsistency in the bullpen. Some teams have trouble with their youth and some have the veterans breaking down. If you look around the league there seems to be a pitching epidemic.

Now what do you do when you have some of everything? A smorgasbord of pitching troubles, if you will. I ask this because the Red Sox have run the gamut.

Let’s go down the check list:
1. Trouble up front? Check. Beckett has given up 32 homeruns and has an era over 5.
2. Trouble in back? Big Check. Who knows who is pitching 4 and 5 these days? All I know is that they usually stink.
3. Injuries? Check. Foulk, DiNardo, Clement, Wells, and Wakefield all have missed time.
4. Bullpen inconsistent? Check. Unless your name is Papelbon, you are questionable coming out of the Red Sox pen.
5. Age issues? Check. The vets Wells and Wake have been hurt, the yougins Hansen and Beckett have been getting shelled.

So that’s everything. The Sox have it all… all the symptoms and all the negative results. Tonight those results were felt first hand as Wells made his second sub par start (a double bogey). The fat man gave up a four spot in the 4th and 5 runs total in his 6 inning night. This time he started strong, but then slipped back into being completely useless (unless you have something on your plate you don’t want to eat… cause he’ll get that).

After a (shockingly) good inning by Tavarez, Hansen stepped up to let us all down. His 3 run 8th put the game effectively out of reach. By the time Javy Lopez hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the 9th, I was already forlorn. What happened to Hansen? Is it over use? Is he nursing an injury? Or is our closer of the future just not that good? This needs to be investigated further by the coaches and management before anything big gets rested on his shoulders.

The Sox are going to try for the win of this series tomorrow and like an old dog that refuses to learn a new trick, they are sending Jason Johnson back out there. My only hope is that Boston can score early and often against J.P. Howell and his 15+ ERA. GO SOX.