Monday, May 07, 2012

Another Lost Weekend for the Sox

Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis went 2 innings, allowing 0 runs, 2 hits, and stuck out 2. Adrian Gonzalez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were struck out by a first baseman. A first baseman got a pitching win against the Sox. That's how bad things are.

The Red Sox lost all three of their games to the Orioles, but it felt like four due to the length of Sunday's loss. In fact, the Fenway Park grounds crew is still cleaning up all the runners the Sox left in scoring position during the series.

I gave Clay Buchholz a pass for April. He's started slow in the past, so he gets a Mulligan for that month. It's May now. No more free passes. It's time to send him down I-95 to Pawtucket and let him work out his problems there. He's making too many mistakes. I wouldn't mind giving him one more start in Boston, but it has to be a good start. Not just decent, not just solid, I'm talking 7 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits good. Otherwise, it's Triple-A for Clay.

In extra inning losses, the tendency is to look at all the scoring opportunities that weren't capitalized on. The Sox went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. One more hit in those situations and the game ends in 9 innings or 12 innings or 15 innings. But it was the starting pitching that cost the Sox the game. It was Clay's 3.2 innings. That's why Darnell McDonald was on the mound in the 17th, because the bullpen had pitched 12.1 innings of relief at that point. And had only allowed an unearned run.

If Clay pitches better, the Sox don't even get into an extra inning situation. They can win in 9 innings. Even if they do go extras, McDonald doesn't have to pitch for another 3 innings.

Will Middlebrooks hit a Grand Slam, and has done well since his call up. But what the hell is he doing not running down the line on a ball that's 50/50 fair or foul? Who does this 23 year old, #64 wearing kid think he is?

It's the type of attitude that a large number of the Sox seem to have. Middlebrooks will fit right in with that crap.

Then the other half of the team is pushing too hard. Aviles was caught-stealing twice. Pedroia was caught also. The Sox are 8 for 13 when trying to steal based, which simply isn't good enough. These caught-stealing outs are free outs given to opponents. It's better to stay at first than to steal second base 60% of the time and get thrown out 40% of the time. The out is much more valuable than the base.

Speaking of pushing too hard, why the hell was Aaron Cook allowed to go back into the game on Saturday? He got his legs sliced up, then comes back out for his next shift like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Don't get me wrong, it was extremely refreshing to see a pitcher with guts (as opposed to Josh "the Blister" Beckett, who Cook was replacing that day), but we also saw other parts of Cook's internal anatomy that day. And I think the Sox risked too much by letting him resume the game.

The Sox need pitching, but they need it for 5 more months, not 5 more innings in a game in May. They shouldn't have let him go back out there.

I know the Sox are plagued with injury right now. But every team endures injuries. The problem with the Sox is that their healthy players aren't doing their jobs. Buchholz, Lester, Beckett, Aceves. Adrian Gonzalez never seems to get a hit when the Sox really need him to get one. Darnell McDonald's ERA is lower than Mark Melancon's. More than 22 runs lower. Not a single starting pitcher has an ERA below 4.45. Sox starters have a combined ERA of 5.72.

You don't win without starting pitching. Poor starting also exposes an overworked and undertalented bullpen.

Maybe a trip to Kansas City will give the Sox a chance to collect some wins. Doubront faces Jonathan Sanchez tonight. Who isn't very good.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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