What Have We Learned This Weekend?
Looking back at the Fenway series, here are 10 things we've learned or confirmed this weekend:
- Other than Josh Beckett, the starting pitching really isn't very good. Schilling had a nice performance most of Sunday and Matsuzaka constantly worked out of trouble on Friday, but do either of them put any fear into a playoff team?
- Terry Francona has no faith in Eric Gagne. If he did, Papelbon never would have been asked for a 6 out save. That's why they got Gagne in the first place. At first I thought Tito was a genius in that he was going to use his best reliever in the highest leverage situation and then use Gagne to start the 9th, but that's not what he was planning to do.
- The Red Sox bullpen is not nearly as good as people think. Papelbon has been beaten twice by the Yankees this year (both final blows delivered by the amazingly un-clutch bat of Alex Rodriguez). The freefall of Hideki Okajima continues. Perhaps it's just a regression to the mean, as nobody expected him to be as good as he was in the first half. Still, going into the playoffs is a poor time to have your bullpen implode.
- Umpires are not good at their jobs. Despite clearly being safe, Johnny Damon was called out at first, which cost the Yankees at minimum one run on Sunday. On Friday, nothing Pettitte or Matsuzaka threw was being called consistantly a strike or a ball, and the zone seemed to shrink whenever men were on base. The umpiring for the entire series was disgraceful. Bud Selig absolutely needs to address the umpiring situation in MLB in teh off-season. Of course, he won't.
- 80% of Derek Jeter is still probably better than your team's shortstop. I hate to agree with Jon Miller, but it's true.
- Jason Giambi can be the most impactful presense on any bench of the playoff contenders. he really should be in the starting lineup, but Giambi has kept his mouth shut and produced when asked to pinch hit.
- Joba can handle the pressure. Sunday was really the first "big game" Chamberlain has been in, and he handled himself well. Yes, he gave up his first earned run, but it was on a 98 MPH fastball up above the strikezone. You can't do anything but tip your cap to Lowell and move on, and that's what he did.
- Sean Henn is a disaster. Even in a mopup role. Blech.
- The Red Sox need Manny Ramirez to return, and be Manny Ramirez again. Look, the Jacoby Ellsbury experiment is working out so far, but let's face facts - he had an unerwhelming minor league career and wasn't ever projected for superstardom. Ortiz needs protection in that lineup and in the postseason teams can completely pitch around him and nullify his power. Without Manny, the Sox offense is a lot less scary.
- Alex Rodriguez is a good ballplayer. It would be nice to see Posada hitting behind him more often though, but the Yankees have proven that you can't walk Rodriguez and beat New York. It's a recipe for disaster.
Labels: a-rod, derek jeter, joba chamberlain, redsox, sean henn
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:15 AM