Memorial day reading: pitching prospects, offensive scuffles, Gold Glover Julio Lugo (and FTM)

May 25th, 2007 → 12:15 pm @ // No Comments

It’s Memorial Day weekend, it’s 90 degrees…and I’m moving. Perfect timing! But I haven’t forgotten my blogalicious duties, so without furtherado, this wrapup/compendium:

* Some good news on the Sox’s home-grown pitching talent front and some thoughts about why it’s best to remember the all of the implications of every action. Jon Lester has been ripping it up at Pawtucket to the tune of around .8 Ks per inning and a 1.62 ERA. We all saw lefty Lester’s potential last year, and we all hope he’s back in the bigs soon. One thing we might all not know: if the infamous A-Rod for Manny trade had gone down in the winter of ’04, Lester wouldn’t be here…because he was slated to go to Texas as part of the deal. In other minor-league news, Clay Buchholz is getting raves at AA (to the point of folks saying he out-dueled Clemens earlier this week). The Sox were able to draft CB because of the compensatory pick they got when Pedro signed with the Mets. Every rational person would admit that, thus far, Petey hasn’t been worth his annual salary in New York. If Clay develops into a reliable fourth starter — and people are talking about him as much more than that — he’ll definitely be worth his. (One last interesting Buchholz note is that he dropped as low as he did in the draft because of a laptop theft in high school. I got arrested in high school (and did lots of stuff I should have been arrested for but wasn’t) so I’m fully in favor of second chances…

* Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Rob Bradford’s work. He has a recent couple of pieces worth checking out. His most recent post in his always-worth reading Herald blog, The Bradford Files has several interesting tidbits, including details of Sox players’ off-season workouts (I’m not going to be trying those anytime soon) and part of a Q/A with Eric Hinske. These are the types of things blogs should have: interesting notes that wouldn’t make it into the paper and standard-fare Q/As that aren’t jaw-droppingly revelatory but are interesting nonetheless. (One especially interesting note is Hinske’s thoughts about Theo’s relationship with the players.) And a Herald article from a couple of days ago is another example of why I’m a fan of Rob’s: a evergreen feature on Sox advance scouts Dana Levangie and Todd Claus actually teaches you something about the team you might not know even if you were an obsessive reader of all things Red Sox related…

* Speaking of evergreens, Gordo has a nice piece in the Globe about the job of official scorers. This is an perfect example of a story that oftentimes wouldn’t make it into the paper for all the wrong reasons: because it seems obvious to everyone on the inside. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that’s not the case for your average reader.

* Two interesting perspectives on the Sox’s recent successes…and reasons why they might not be the winningest team in baseball when all is said and done. The ProJo’s Sean McAdam weighs in on the J.D. Drew’s struggles and the bullpen’s successes. McAdam finds Drew’s offensive suckitude troubling (you’ll get no argument from me there) and the bullpen’s lights-outedness unlikely to continue (ditto). But — and this is a big but — it seems like there’s a logical inconsistency behind thinking a consistently good player won’t return to his level and a group that’s collectively over achieving will fall back to earth. The Telegram-Gazette‘s Bill Ballou looks at all of the Sox’s underachievers (Crisp, Drew, Hinske, Pineiro, and Manny) and sees an illustration of Francona’s skills as a manager: one of the ways he keeps the clubhouse functioning smoothly in a tough-to-play-in town is by showing faith in guys when they’re scuffling. As Ballou notes, sometimes in pays off (Damon and Bellhorn in the ’04 playoffs) and sometimes it doesn’t (Bellhorn and Millar in the ’05 season). One point I’d add: it’s not always just that Francona is showing patience; sometimes it’s that the players are acting like whiny little punks (Millar in the ’05 season).

* Speaking of Manny, if the Sox weren’t tearing it up, we’d be hearing a lot more about his general suckiness, a topic Edes covered earlier this week (and one that’s been receiving some attention over at SoSH). Edes talks to the scout that signed Manny about his seeming hesitation at the plate. It’s hard not to get a tinge of panic when watching him walk back to the bench after being called out on strikes one more time; on the other hand, I was with the Sox in 2005, the Gammons “he just doesn’t care out there” year, the “I’m worried about my mom and her blood transfusions” year, the black-hole until late May year. History says there’s no reason to expect this to be any different. Emotions worry otherwise.

* And finally, for everyone out there who thinks the Lugo signing was, based on the evidence thus far, an unmitigated disaster, here’s an interesting factoid: John Dewan, author of The Fielding Bible, says Lugo’s been the fourth best defensive shortstop in all of baseball.


That’s it for now. It’s gonna be a hot one this weekend, and you don’t need to be back at work until Monday. That means, of course, that it’s an absolutely perfect time to read Feeding the Monster, which is available from Amazon for only $17.16 (cheap!). And, of course, free signed and personalized bookplates are here for the asking. They’re really nice. Seriously: ask anyone you know who has one. Or just write in. But whatever you do, act today.

Post Categories: 2007 Season & Clay Buchholz & J.D. Drew & Jon Lester & Julio Lugo & Manny Ramirez & Rob Bradford & Sports Reporters

3 Comments → “Memorial day reading: pitching prospects, offensive scuffles, Gold Glover Julio Lugo (and FTM)”


    17 years ago

    Thanks for the good news and reading suggestions. I also enjoyed a piece on ESPN Page 2 by Eric Neel about today’s future baseball legends. Some cool comments about Ortiz, one of the four nominated. Jeter, Pujols and Vlad Guerrero are the others. Neel explains why Manny and Barry didn’t make the list.

    Thanks for soothing some worries. I’m sure most Sox fans have a worry list. I do. Drew, Crisp and Lugo have been on it for a while, now Beckett’s avulsion and most recently, Curt’s case of whiplash. Manny-no point worrying about him. I think we may see a dropoff, but from 130 RBI to 110.

    Good to see somebody notice what a job Francona’s doing keeping the team rolling.



    17 years ago

    Since bad news for the Yankees is always good news for the Sox, Saturday was as good as it gets. If anybody had any doubts about how much disarray the pinstripes are in, the 10-6 loss to the Angels cleared them up completely. Joe Torre’s bizarre sequence of pitching decisions in this game are the final proof that he has cracked. First he pulls the rookie Clippard after 4 innings, though Clippard has only given up 3 runs. In comes DeSalvo, another rookie, for the first relief appearance of his big league career. DeSalvo departs after 4 batters, having retired none of them. Next comes Vizcaino. Vizcaino records 3 outs, gives up 3 hits and 3 walks, is charged with 4 runs, leaves the game with a 7.66 ERA and his team trailing 10-3. He’s replaced by Villone. Villone records 8 outs and is charged with no runs, stretching his streak of scoreless innings since rejoining the Yankees to 7.2.

    Several weeks ago an irate Yankee fan theorized that Torre was making his relief pitching selections using bingo balls with pitchers’ names on them. I think that guy was right.


  3. jthewes

    16 years ago

    Thanks for the Yankee stuff here, it’s great to hear someone actually say it and make sense. I couldn’t believe he pulled Clippard after 76 pitches, simply couldn’t believe it. And DeSalvo had to make a start Monday, why not just keep one rookie in there instead of throwing another rookie starter out there in the 5th inning? UNREAL.

    He’s blown more games than Mo.

    Meanwhile, I had a point here. This pretty much sums up why I love Manny, no matter what he does:


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