Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cause for Optimism

NESN just had a replay of an early April 2004 game against Toronto, Curt Schilling's first home start. The Sox won in extra innings. So what?

The Sox infield had Bill Mueller at third, Felipe Crespo at short, Mark Bellhorn at second, and David McCarty at first. Gabe Kapler was in center, and the last two Sox pitchers were Bobby Jones (the walk ace) and Mark (rhymes with Alaska) Malaska. The Sox won on a David Ortiz walkoff homer in extra innings.

If the Sox could win with that lineup, then anything is possible.
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Nothing new on the J.D. Drew watch, although we can imagine that his shoulder MRI isn't normal...

Injuries can occur from narrowing of the space between the rotator cuff elements and the bone (impingement), rotator cuff tendon degeneration, or injury secondary to trauma. A brief but informative review of the shoulder stabilizing system is referenced here. You too can talk about shoulder pathology, and know the labrum from a hole in the ground.

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The bullpen battle should shape up to be one of the most competitive on the team, with three categories of players.

The Young and Unproven

  • Manny Delcarmen
  • Craig Hansen
  • Devern Hansack

"Greybeards"

  • Mike Timlin
  • Brendan Donnelly
  • Hideki Okajima
  • J.C. Romero

Desperately Seeking Situational Outs

  • Craig Breslow
  • Javier Lopez
  • Kyle Snyder

I've got to give the early lead to the greybeards and Delcarmen (and his curveball), who had more good moments than Hansen, who seems to have yet to figure out which is his 'out pitch'. Peter Gammons seems to think that the Sox are high on Hansack, but Kyle Snyder showed enough (for the first four innings most games at least) to wonder where he fits.

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The rotation possibilities include Schilling, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Papelbon, Lester, and Wakefield, whose versatility adds value, presuming that his back/ribs have recovered. In the 'can't count on him at all' category is Matt Clement, a nice guy by all reports who hasn't gotten much done in two years. The most important guy in this equation is Jason Varitek, who must shepherd Matsuzaka through the transition, help the other young guys, and remind Beckett that throwing harder won't get guys out in the AL.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You were seeing only the end of the 12 inning game. I took a look at Retrosheet.

Pokey Reese started at short, and, for some reason, maybe just to rest Damon, Cesar Crespo started in center, with Millar at first base. The only non standard starter was Crespo. Kaplar was playing in right for Trot Nixon.

McCarty hit for Reese, and took over at first, with Millar moving to right, and Kapler to center while Crespo moved to short, causing the unusual line up.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Julian Tavarez in your bullpen lineup. I know he wasn't too impressive (as a set-up man) last year but hopefully he can rebound and pitch some meaningful innnings in '07.

Tim Daloisio said...

I am in the following camp in regards to the closer situation:

If a reasonable trade presents itself for Chad Cordero, take it. Reasonable would be Hansen and non pitching prospects (Murphy, Moss come to mind). I don't think that is enough. Unless someone like Lenny Dinardo, Kyle Snyder, or Kason Gabbard would be considered a #5 starter in Washington and would have value.

More likely, I would go into the spring with what you have. Remember in 2003, Brandon Lyon had 13 consecutive saves and BK Kim came before the deadline and actually handled the job well down the stretch, then Williamson went lights out in the playoffs.

I don't know if we can find that again....but use the spring and the first months of the season to see what you have in house. At the same time let Lester get back to form in AAA. Around May 1st, if there is no closer in house, look to pull the trigger and overpay a little for a Cordero type or move Papelbon to the role and Lester or another acquired arm (or Clement) into the rotation to replace him.

There isn't a need to panic yet....patience.

Tim
Red Sox Times

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