Postgame Spread
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Friday, May 12, 2006

What's The Count, Boys? Let's ROCK.    

For those keeping score at home, it's now 3-1 Red Sox on the season, mostly on the road, and at a time when the Sox haven't been playing particularly well.  What will things look like in a month or two, when Coco is back, when Beckett and Schilling stop struggling, when the bullpen has sorted itself out a little better... my heart warms at the thought.

I remain terribly pleased with the team's direction, and not just because they beat the living crap out of Randy Johnson last night.  The outlook in general is very, very rosy.  I'm somewhat concerned about the bullpen, but at the same time you can't be worried when you have options.  The current pen is Paps, Foulke, Timlin, Tavarez, Seanez and AAAA veteran Mike Holtz himself.  Not great, but also a huge, HUGE improvement over last year.  If Hansen ever shows up, or Delcarmen gets his act together in Pawtucket, or Van Buren takes a leap northward, then the pen's (Seanez) weaker (Seanez) parts will (Seanez) be (Seanez) surgically removed.

But enough about the ultimate fighting champion.  Let's talk about Mike Lowell.  He may not be worth his salary, but I think it's abundantly clear that this apocryphal "slow bat" crap was just that... crap.  If you can pull a double, and you can tomahawk a line-drive home run, your bat's not slow.  End of story.  The Hanley Ramirez trade has officially worked out for both sides, despite Hanley's return to the top of the prospect heap.

Anyway, if we run down the list of comings and goings since last season, it's easy to see how much this team has improved upon itself.  All of the improvements are major, major improvements, and for every minor downgrade (Timlin and Clement not pitching as well) you have a sea-change improvement like Schilling or Foulke.

Even
Ortiz --> Ortiz
Man-Ram --> Man-Ram
Nixon --> Nixon
Varitek --> Varitek
Cora --> Cora
Mirabelli --> Mirabelli
Wakefield --> Wakefield
Papelbon --> Papelbon  (Check the September 2005 stats.  He's not improved in the slightest.)

Improved
Millar --> Youkilis
Graffanino --> Loretta
Mueller --> Lowell
Schilling --> Schilling
Arroyo --> Beckett
Foulke --> Foulke
Kapler --> Wily Moooooooo
Stern --> Mohr
Jeremi Gonzalez --> Tavarez (as bad as Tavarez has been, he's no Jeremi.)

Degraded
Renteria --> Gonzalez
Wells --> DiNardo
Clement --> Clement
Timlin --> Timlin
Youkilis --> Snow
??? --> Seanez  (Yes, he's worse than the guy who sucked so much that I can't remember his name.)

Incomplete
Damon --> Crisp
??? --> Riske  (I think Riske can help.)
Seanez --> Hansen  (It's coming.)

2 Comments:

  • Mike Holtz seems instinctively like it should be a Bart & Moe style double entendre but somehow it's not.

    By Blogger Chris Doucette, at 6:01 PM  

  • What's more, even the worst piece according to you (I haven't been following this year much), Seanez, was a good idea. He was totally dominant last year for a good, long stretch. He's probably nursing an injury or something. Either way, even smart investments don't always work out, and you got Mirabelli back anyway (that's the trade, right?). So I think you can feel good about that move too, even if it hasn't worked out so far.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 6:22 PM  

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