Thursday, May 26, 2005


First of all, I'm sick of this weather. I drive all the way up to Kenebunk, Maine on my way to Portland to see the Sea Dogs. When I left my house, said the conditions in Portland were "foggy" so I figured I could catch a game and see some friends. As I drove through New Hampshire it became clear that Portland would be rainy and even if the rain stopped, they wouldn't have a dry enough field to play. So I had to turn around.

Everyone on WEEI and on their blogs and in their day-to-day conversations about the Red Sox have been complaining about the offense. Renteria isn't getting on base enough, Manny's average is low, Bellhorn is striking out too much, et cetera. The problem with this team isn't the offense. In fact, the Sox have scored more runs at the quarter of the season than they did last year at that point. 24 more runs in fact. That's 0.6 runs a game or 3 more runs every 5 games. This may sound small but it should be enough to wina few more close games. Unless, of course, your pitching is not doing its job.

This year, the Red Sox have allowed 31 more runs than they did through 40 games last season. Here are some scary numbers:

Starter's ERA 2004: 3.67
Starter's ERA 2005: 4.51

Bullpen ERA 2004: 2.80
Bullpen ERA 2005: 5.20

Last year, the starter's ERA was below average by about 0.90 which is pretty good. This is why we were winning alot in April. The bullpen ERA was outstanding at 2.80 whereas now it is crappy at 5.20. The pen is blowing games and the starters are having trouble keeping us in games.

Tuesday's game was just terrible. The Sox got out to their early lead only to watch their mediocre starter blow it. Then the Sox came back only to watch their crappy bullpen blow it. There some questionable pitching decisions by Francona but none were outright bad and it is alot easier to criticise Tuesday's game on Thursday morning.

The Man of the Game is Reed Johnson who went 2 for 5 with a pair of homers, 5 RBI, and the game winning shot.

The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Wells: 0.5 - 6.1 IP, 5 ER
Timlin: 0.1 - 2.1 IP, ER
Embree: 0.3 - 0.1 IP, 3 ER
Millar: 0.1 - 0 for 4, K, 2 LOB

Not surprisingly, the Red Sox were shut down by a mediocre lefthander Wednesday night. The Sox went a combined 4 for 31 (.129) The 1-6 hitters went a combined 1 for 22 (.045). Hitters 3 thru 6 were 0 for 14. The Red Sox did not get an extra base hit. Their sole run was knocked in by Damon with a bases loaded groundout. Renteria followed with his usual groundout in a big spot.

The Man of the Game is Russ Adams, a light hitting shortstop who went 2 for 3 with a double and a triple. He scored twice.

The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Arroyo: 0.5 - 6 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, Error
Millar: 0.2 - 0 for 4, Error
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Damon: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Renteria: 0.1 - 1 for 4, choked in biggest AB of game

This team has not been able to win in the division. This team has not been able to win on the road. These trends need to be stopped. Half of the games are played within the division. Half of the games are played on the road. Three fourths of the games are played against the division and/or on the road. Only one fourth of the games are against non-divisional opponents at Fenway Park. These are the only games which the Red Sox have consistently won.

Theo has his work cut out for him. The bullpen obviously needs another set-up man because Embree isn't cutting it and Francona seems unwilling to use Mantei in that role. The Sox could also use another frontline pitcher especially since Schilling's condition when he returns will be an unkown. The Red Sox also need to look at a replacement for Millar. I think Olerud will work out nicely and mixing in Youkilis will also work. I don't think Millar should be benched but perhaps he should only be used against lefthanders for the time being. Renteria is here to stay for awhile but I think he needs to be moved down to the bottom of the lineup. He is killing us. I hope he'll come around, but at the moment, he is seriously hurting the team. If he were back in the bottom of the order maybe the Bill Mueller effect will take hold and he will be relaxed enough to hit well.

Boston Dirt Dogs is the best looking, best maintained, most popular, and most succesful blog in Red Sox Nation. However, it thinks that it is a news outlet like the Associated Press or the Boston Globe or CBS 4. It is not. The Dirt Dogs ran a story today about Keith Foulke. Here's the story. Mind you, this story has been reworded, re-edited, and revamped about half a dozen times on Wednesday as real information became apparent. Here's what happened:

Boston Dirt Dogs published a story claiming Keith Foulke cancelled an autograph appearance at a Cooperstown store because he had to fly to Alabama to see an arm surgeon. WEEI's Dale and Holley contacted Foulke and the Red Sox. Foulke denied seeing any doctor in Alabama. The Dirt Dogs updated their site claiming the store owner was sticking to his guns. Later in the evening, it is discovered that Foulke went down to Alabama to be in the presence of an expert analyst who was looking at Foulke's pitching mechanics. This makes sense to me given Foulke's struggles this year and his inconsistency which suggests a mechanical problem not a health problem which would probably result in consistently bad performances.

I knew this whole story was a bunch of BS from the moment I heard about it. One of my friends in Cooperstown told me the night before the game that Foulke was supposed to appear at the store at which one of his friends worked at but he cancelled at least several days prior. I didn't think anything of this at the time but when I heard the story, I jumped on it and e-mailed Dale and Holley who read my e-mail on the air telling the truth.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Boston Dirt Dogs is not a news source and shouldn't act like it is.