Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Sox have lost 3 of 4 since the All-Star break, and 3 straight for the first time since mid-May. They've only scored 10 runs in their last 4 games. As a team, they're hitting .227 in July. Jason Varitek's come back to Earth, he's hitting at a .216 clip this month. JD Drew's even worse, he's an abysmal 7 for 51 this month.
But last night it was Smoltz's struggles that took center stage. Since coming off the DL, he's 1-3 with a 6.31 ERA. Last night he was cruising until the 6th, when he allowed 3 homeruns and 5 runs total. That's been his MO for all 5 of his starts. The first time facing Smoltz in a game, opponents are hitting .200. The second time against him, they're hitting .357. So either he's getting tired, getting figured out, or most likely it is a combination of the two.
But you cannot be a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball if you can't get hitters out at least twice. If this trend doesn't show any signs of reversal 3 starts from now, it's time to give Smoltz an early retirement.
The good news is that Josh Beckett is on the hill tonight, facing Tommy Hunter. Beckett's been a stopper this year, seeming to be at his best after a Sox loss.
AP Photo/LM Otero