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  • July 21st, 2010

    July 21, 2010:
    Midseason Report Card

    Posted by Christine E. at 6:39 pm in Baseball,Random Thoughts,Red Sox Comments (2)

    Here is a trivia question I encountered several years ago: What is the 1 day of the year when no sport is played? And the answer is (or was, don’t think it’s the case anymore): the Day after the All-Star Game…

    And since I started this on the only sport-less day (maybe) of the year, and then went on vacation, in honor of what is, or what was, I submit my midseason report card for your review–better late than never…

    Management

    Theo Epstein: C-: To be fair, the team Theo constructed during the off-season has never been actually on the field yet. However, John Lackey is getting $82 million for and ERA a little under 5; and while Mike Cameron is great when he plays–it’s the when he plays part that is troubling. But the big reason he is not getting a B is the awful way he is treating Mike Lowell–Just release him already…

    Terry Francona: A-: Being able to juggle old player, new players, injuries, rest, and egos, is difficult under any circumstances. Add in the fact that The Sox currently have over 10 players on the DL–and it’s the Boston Red Sox, where the ‘Nation magnifies each and everything to the Nth Degree…Tito has this job nailed down. Can communicate with players, management and media alike, his players love and respect what he brings to the party–Its easier to manage when everything is in place–not so much when nothing is…The only reason he gets a minus is his handling of Mike Lowell–he has given up all pretense of even getting him into a game…

    Pitchers

    Jon Lester: A: The winningest pitcher in MLB HISTORY since 1901, based on any pitcher with at least 50 starts, Jon Lester is the Ace of the Boston Red Sox, carrying the team right now with his 2.81 ERA, and 11-4 record, despite Sunday’s loss. And I have been saying it for years–he is electric to watch–Still hard to believe he is only 26…

    John Lackey: C: 9-5 with a 4.65 ERA–this is what you get for $82.5 million dollars? And he labors whether he wins or he loses…can’t imagine he is much fun to play behind…

    Tim Wakefield: C: Wake deserves better than his pretty ucky (3-8, 5.65) record reflects, but there were at least 3 games where the bullpen screwed the pooch–and then factor in the fact that the team’s bats more often than not seem to not want to cooperate when Tim Wakefield is on the mound. And you also cannot tell me the back and forth bullpen/rotation moving helps the cause…More often than not, he keeps them in the game-just like last night-and it’s alot less labored…

    Clay Buchholz: A: If Jon Lester is the staff Ace, That Clay Person is Ace, Part A. He would have given David Price a run for his money to start the All-Star game, if he didn’t come up lame running the bases during Interleague play and straining a hamstring. Currently at 10-4, with a 2.45 ERA, could he possibility get to 20 wins for the 1st time in his career? He’ll be back in the rotation tonight, so we will see…

    Daisuke Matsuzaka: C: 7-3 with a 4.29 ERA–for $103 million dollars–and yes, I know he only got $52 of that…But the nibbling, and the walks and the obtuseness when asked about what is going on with the nibbling and the walks–he offers some cryptic “Only I know the cause” answer–and while he pitched very well in last night’s win, he still makes me want to drink a whole bottle of Jack Daniels–and I don’t drink…

    Josh Beckett: Incomplete: People whined and whined and WHINED that the Sox needed to lock Josh Beckett up (yeah, I know, I was one of them, sometimes…) to a long term contact, and then there was the variance between pitching with runners on vs not, and the 1-1 record, the 7.29 ERA–in 8 starts. And then there are the back issues which have kept him out of the rotation since the end of May…Indications are that he is now healthy and ready to go–and will make be making his 1st start in over 2 months…can he salvage this season?

    Jonathan Papelbon: C+: If your gonna be a cocky SOB, then you need to have the cojones to back that up–and sometimes I wonder about Papelbon…If 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA (It was nearly a run lower in 2009) is “setting the standard”–someone needs to rethink the standards– I reallyREALLY liked his quote about him and Daniel Bard: “…I think we have the potential to be a good one-two punch for a lot of years, depending on what happens in the next year or so with me.” All about him much? And everyone knows that as soon as he can, he’ll be bailing to whoever will pay him the most…But if his slide continues, that may be the Baltimore Oreos…

    Daniel Bard: A: 1.79 ERA and a 1-2 record–closer of the future? more than likely–but not quite there–and lets hope the Sox are careful with him (he has already made 44 appearances in 94 games) or that golden 100mph throwing arm will fall RIGHT OFF…

    Ramon Ramirez/Manny Delcarmen: C: I call them the Demonic Bullpen Tandem, and while each had the POTENTIAL to be great–it always seems to elude them–and it always seems like when the Sox need either of them to step up and get it done, more often than not, they don’t…

    Hideki Okajima: C: Maybe the Demonic Bullpen Tandem should be a Trio, which is a shame because Okajima used to be BRILLIANT, but every year his ERA has grown, with it almost doubling from 2009. The Sox cannot afford a 6.00 ERA in the bullpen…

    Scott Atchison: B-: One of the few bullpen pitchers not named Daniel Bard that do not make me cringe these days, he has stepped up and done the spot start thing, as well as long relief. He has already done the Pawtucket shuffle 3 times this year–let’s hope he sticks this time–because, right now, he is one of the bright spots…

    Scott Schoeneweis: F: UGH. My only F–and with good reason; the only thing worse than a 6.00 ERA in the bullpen is an ERA near 8–and that is what we had with the other Scott…The Sox were 4-11 over his 15 appearances that we were subjected to until the middle of May when he was releases–Shockingly, no other team has express interest…

    Felix Doubront: C: With his 1-2 and 4.11 ERA, the kid hasn’t been too horrible. He’s kept the Sox in the game in the 3 starts he has made with the team, and, really, can you ask for anything more than that from a young ‘un?

    Catchers:

    Victor Martinez: B: The beginning of the 2010 campaign was quite frightening with regards to Victor Martinez–his bat was ice cold, and he could not throw out a runner to save his life–and Theo was looking like a genius for not signing him to a long term contract. But, since then, he has worked his butt off, improving both the offensive and defensive aspects of his game–just in time to break him thumb and mess up the whole works…He is slowly working his way back, and will certainly give a boost to the lineup–let’s just hope it comes soon enough…

    Jason Varitek: B: When Victor Martinez broke his thumb, no one was super worried about the catching duties–because having a backup catcher of the caliber of Jason Varitek is better than some starting catchers. And serving as backup has seemed to rejuvenate ‘Tek where his numbers have improved significantly. It would have been interesting to see if the good numbers would have been sustained while he filled in for the ailing Martinez–until a foul ball broke HIS foot and will keep him out until sometime in August…

    Kevin Cash: C: While he is not the greatest hitter (currently batting .139, and was hitting .202 with Houston) he can catch Tim Wakefield, and has done an OK job as starting catcher of the Boston Red Sox–and only got the job because of a complete decimation of the catching staff–on Big League and AAA Level. Once Victor and ‘Tek are back, look for Kevin to be DFA’ed, or sent to Pawtucket…But for now he is healthy and can hold them together–hopefully…

    Infield:

    Kevin Youkilis: A+: .297 with 18 homers, 60 RBI’s, and an OBP of .405–Worth his weight in Gold–Manny who?

    Dustin Pedroia: A+: Jonathan Papelbon take note: Here is the Cocky SOB with the Stones to pull it off…although when he says things like “I’m the hardest working man in baseball”, it never seems like he is being a jerk…The heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox-his injury is the one that hurts the most, but even a Dustin Pedroia on the DL is worth his weight in gold–times 10…

    Marco Scutaro: B: With no backup to speak off, since Bill Hall is backing everyone else up, he has managed to play through his own injuries (neck and elbow) and be in the lineup almost every day, which has more than likely impacted his numbers (.279 with 4 HR–but is hitting .246 for July) and his consistency. If the Sox bring up Jed Lowrie and he can contribute, I think things will even out for Marco…

    Adrian Beltre: B: Yeah, I know his bat has been pretty astounding (.334 with 15 homers) But I cannot get past the 15 errors, the fact that he has take out TWO left fielders, breaking 5 ribs on each–and He replaced Mike Lowell…

    Bill Hall: C: The Utility Player who is living the dream as a starter–in every position except for 1st base and catcher–Yes, he even pitched! Once all the injured ones are back, Bill can get back to being an excellent and versatile utility guy…

    Jed Lowrie: Incomplete: Doesn’t it feel like Jed has been out for 3 years? With all his injuries in 2009, and then the mono that felled him during Spring Training, it was looking like the 2010 campaign was another lost season for him. And really the only reason I am listing him, since I am not critiquing players who have just stopped by for a latte is that JED LOWRIE IS BACK! After a rehab where he hit .370, Jed Lowrie is back with the Sox, and will be activated today–which means Marco Scutaro should get some much needed rest…

    Eric Patterson: Incomplete: Only 13 games into his Red Sox tenure, I really don’t have a clear opinion of him. Currently hitting .216 with 2 HR and 3 RBI’s, his best game seemed to be his 1st one–and has trailed off big-time since then–he may be the casualty of the Jed Lowrie activation–but we’ll see…

    DH:

    David Ortiz: B+: As he did last year, Big Papi struggled mightily in April, even losing his everyday status and being replaced on certain days with Mike Lowell. Fortunately for him, unfortunately for Mike, he completely turned his season around and has been hitting the cover off the ball, even winning the Home Run Derby last week. What keeps Big Papi from getting an A or A- is the fact that he was somewhat of a poor sport when he was struggling–I understand he is a proud man, and April was difficult for him–but players struggle–sometimes alot, sometimes a little–its all about how you deal with it…

    Outfield/Bench:

    Jeremy Hermida: Incomplete: Another casualty, thanks to the steam roller that is Adrian Beltre, but will be returning to the lineup this week. The best of the bench players that have been doing the starter thing, his return will more than likely spell the end for either Darnell or Daniel. While his average was low before his injury (.217) he can hit Mariano Rivera, stroking a 2-run double off him in the 7-6 win against the Skanks on May 18th.

    Darnell McDonald: B: A story to tell your grandchildren, and I know I was in the majority of folks who has NO CLUE who Darnell was before his 1st game in April 20 when he was instrumental in winning what was one UGLY game (the 9 steals game–remember) tying the score in the 8th with a homer in his 1st at-bat, then in the 9th inning, hitting a walk-off single for the win. Of course, his numbers have went down from there, but he is another one of those come from nowhere players who have helped the Sox stay above water. Whether of not he stays with the Sox, I hope he gets to stay in the bigs somewhere…

    J.D. Drew: B-: Despite the fact that he has actually played in 84 games out of 94, doesn’t it feel like he is always out with SOME sort of injury? And the “JD Drew is poised to carry this team” front has been remarkably quiet, He hasn’t be BAD–just middle of the road, but he does get on base alot (his OBP us .352–just wished he was driving in more runs…

    Mike Cameron: B: I give Mike Cameron alot of credit, playing with such a painful injury–but while he is more fragile and cannot play every day, he give 100% every time he does–I cringe when I watch him make a spectacular play, as I cannot even imagine the pain he is in. Ironically, his BA is still higher that it has been in the last 5 years (based on reduced playing time of course) and the fact that he won’t give up is impressive…

    Mike Lowell: Incomplete: I can’t even tell you how disgusted and saddened I am by the whole Mike Lowell situation. Right now he is stil on the DL–for reasons that still completely escape me, as I would think you would actually have to MOVE to hurt yourself. But, apparently, Mike has resigned himself to the fact that the Sox will not do the right thing and release him, preferring to keep him on the bench “Just in case”…

    Daniel Nava: B: The $1.00 kid is another story you tell your grandkids–and the grand slam on the 1st pitch he sees in the big–stuff of dreams. But it was once said that the shelf life of a back up player doing the starter things is about 3 weeks–and we are a little bit over that Daniel. Still hitting .289, I expect that will start to drop precipitously…Like Darnell, I hope he gets to stay in the bigs–somewhere…

    Jacoby Ellsbury: Incomplete: 9 Games–then off to Arizona for 3 months–rehabbing a similar injury to Jeremy Hermida, who got inured a month later–and will be returning this week–we have NO idea where Jacoby will be back…

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    Midseason Report Card”

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