Sox-Tribe Postmortem III: Reality Check Time

Let’s try to look objectively at our favorite team in the warm (some from more northern climes than mine might say "hot") light of day.

The Red Sox are absolutely not playing good baseball right now. Call it pessimistic if you want, but the hitting and pitching has simultaneously tanked. On the other hand, we know that the Sox’ pitching and hitting from a seasonlong standpoint aren’t this bad, and August and September could be rally months for the Sox.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the three walkoff wins we’ve seen in the last five games are the ignition for a two-month stretch of good baseball. A lot has been made of the injuries to Tek and Trot, but they rob the lineup little when it comes to offense. Replacing Nixon with Pena is clearly a boost to our lineup, and letting Tek sit for a month I feel will be a boost to our lineup when he returns more healthy than he’s been all season.

In the meantime, Jon Lester appeared to learn a valuable lesson with last night’s first inning — don’t throw fastballs all the time — then settled down to be the Lester we’ve loved all season. Kyle Snyder might have finally found his place in the bullpen, Jason Johnson actually had a respectable outing, and Tim Wakefield is this much closer to being back in the rotation. Papelbon and Delcarmen remain great, but Hansen and Timlin have become unreliable (check the game thread for Timlin’s pre- and post-injury stats).

So it’s not the end of the world. The Red Sox and Yankees are both flawed teams. I’ll go out on a limb and say Cory Lidle will give the Yankees Wright-like performance (which means one good start out of five). Abreu might improve their lineup, but the lineup wasn’t the Yanks’ problem to begin with, considering the performances of Williams and Melky Cabrera. In the end, this will still come down to Sox and Yanks head to head, a situation in which previous records and performances mean nothing, and new heroes are made every game. Just ask Vaughn Eshelman or Billy Rohr or David Pauley.

4 comments… add one
  • “..which means one good start out of five”
    Was that hyperbole, or did you mean “quality starts?” New York has won 11 out of Wright’s 18 starts. He’s made 5 quality starts this year.

    attackgerbil August 3, 2006, 1:07 pm
  • Wright hasn’t pitched too poorly, for a five-inning starter. The Yankees bullpen has hardly been well-rested over the course of the year. The workload is going to catch up to the Yanks, if not now, then later on. Already we’ve seen ineffectiveness creep up on Proctor and aggravations of old injuries (Farnsworth’s back) to that bullpen. Mo’s still much more than solid, but the supporting cast may have thrown all their innings before you reach the playoffs.
    Whether Paul was trying to make this point or not, Wright’s inability to go past the 5th inning in most of his starts (13 of 18, with a fair few in the 1.2-3.0 inning range) is going to hurt the Yankees in the long run.
    As far as Lidle is concerned, this is a guy who never did that well in the NL, coming over to face the likes of Vernon Wells, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Vladmir Guerrero, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome…not saying he can’t be successful, just doesn’t bode well.

    Quo August 3, 2006, 1:23 pm
  • Those Sox-Yanks series will be crucial, but with 60 games on the docket, I’m not sure they will be the determining factor. If the teams split those games, or if they are nearly split, than it will be performance in those other games that will likely determine who moves on.

    YF August 3, 2006, 1:47 pm
  • Many dismiss Wright because of the fact that he doesn’t go past 6 innings. I have raise that point myself all the time. That dimsissal overlooks something about Wright this season in that he is somewhat consistent, which makes him a known factor, and that he doesn’t make big mistakes very often.
    Johnson is a major concern because what game he will bring is such a big unknown this year. He’s one box of chocolates to be sure. Not only do you not know what you are going to get, some of them are filled with rusted, stripped, lug nuts dusted with iron filings.
    With Wright, Torre more or less knows what he is going to get. Sure, he rarely goes past 5, and Joe needs to have a long reliever fresh for this guy. The fact that he is follows Wang in the rotation is not an accident considering Wang has proved to be such a ground-ball inducing, inning-munching machine.
    I don’t know what to expect of Lidle. Reading his game logs does not make me optimistic or pessimistic, just uncertain, which is a better feeling I had than last week about the 5th starter.

    attackgerbil August 3, 2006, 1:52 pm

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