Sunday, May 04, 2008


The Red Sox got out to an early lead against Scott Kazmir Sunday afternoon, and although the game was made close in the late innings, were able to pull away at the end for a 7-3 victory.

Lester had a typical Jon Lester start, 112 pitches in 6 innings. Although he pitched well and allowed only one run, he put the Sox in an awkward position. Manny Delcarmen had to be brought in to pitch the 7th.

Delcarmen was one of the X factors of this team coming into the season. If he did well, then Papelbon and Okajima would have some support in the bullpen. The dynamic duo could take more days off, and there'd be someone reliable to pitch the 7th inning when the starter could only get through 6.

But things haven't worked out that way. After another struggle on Sunday, Delcarmen's ERA is up to 7.30. ERA is not a good way to gauge a reliever, but every other Delcarmen stat is as bad or worse. His WHIP is 1.70. He's throwing 20.1 pitches per inning. Opponents are hitting .333 off him. He's inherited 12 runners, and 7 of them have scored.

Although the Sox still managed to win Sunday (thanks in large part to Okajima, Papelbon, and Youkilis), this trend with Delcarmen simply cannot continue. Last year, we saw how effective the Sox were at conserving Papelbon so he could last the whole season. We also saw Okajima wear out toward the end of the year.

In 2008, Papelbon has already had 4 outings longer than an inning. In 2007, he had a TOTAL of 4 appearances that were longer than an inning. Papelbon has 14 appearances and 15.1 innings so far. By May 4 in 2007, he only had 11 appearances and 11.1 innings. This may sound like a small difference, but if it continues throughout the year, it will take its toll. And the Sox won't have Papelbon available to pitch 2 tough innings in the World Series, if need be.

The Red Sox now head to Detroit for 4 games. Daisuke goes against Bonderman in the series opener Monday night.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

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