11-10-2010: Why Justin Duchscherer?

The Red Sox have also expressed interest in free agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who is coming off of hip surgery last June which cut short his season. 2011 will be Duchscherer’s age 33 season, and he’s only been able to pitch 28 innings over the past two seasons. Why would the Red Sox, who already feature a “full house” in the rotation, want someone like him?

All the data suggests that if “the Duke” is healthy, he could be a quality starter. That’s a big if for someone who’s suffered as many injuries as he has. My projection says something like a mid-3s ERA with good control is possible, but you just don’t know what you’ll get with someone who hasn’t pitched competitively in two years.

And let’s not forget that Curt Young, our new pitching coach, has a history with Duchscherer from his Oakland days and could lure him here for a Brad Penny/John Smoltz-type of gig (hopefully with better results). I’m all for this gamble, as it seems like it’ll be relatively cheap.

4-12-2010: The Good, the Bad and the Ortiz

After two series in the books, we sit at 3-3, tied for 3rd in the AL East with Tampa Bay. Let’s dig into the numbers a bit to try and gauge the team’s performance so far.

The Good

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Links: Early speculation on the Red Sox offseason plan

It’s never too early to start speculating about next year. It may seem like Spring Training is an eternity away, but the Sox have to start game-planning now. Should they tangle with Scott Boras again and risk Matt Holliday going to the Yankees or some other team at the last minute? Thinking they had and then not landing Mark Teixeira really left them in the lurch last year.

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2009 Projections: How did we do?

Now that the regular season is over, we can take a look back and compare our expectations with what we really saw. Here are the predictions I made on this blog before this season, and how it all turned out. Back in January I predicted that we would score about 835 runs, allow 729 runs and end up with a 92-70 record, winning the wild card. We got the wild card, but actually ended up with 95 wins, mainly due to the unexpected struggles of the Rays. Going into a bit more detail: Read more of this post

The real Boston rotation stands up

As we come down the stretch, four games ahead in the wild card race and seven behind the Yankees, the Red Sox are in a familiar and strangely comfortable place. All they have to do is continue doing what they’re doing, which right now happens to be playing winning baseball. Josh Beckett seems to have shaken off his rough stretch, Jon Lester has shown himself to be perhaps the top lefty in all of baseball this season, and Clay Buchholz is piling up the quality starts. Daisuke Matsuzaka is back in shape and will take the ball tomorrow against the Angels, and you have to think, apart from losing Dice-K for most of this year, this was the plan all along. Well, more or less.

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Smoltz successful in NL debut

Here’s the line for the starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday – 5 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks and 9 Ks, including a streak of 7 men in a row. That line belonged to John Smoltz, formerly of the Red Sox organization. I should acknowledge that this happened against the Padres, who feature kind of a Quad-A lineup right now, but still…

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Smoltz, Lowrie and rehabbing pitchers

John Smoltz has been DFA’d and cleared waivers; he has also refused a bullpen or minor-league assignment. If the Sox can not find a trade partner by Sunday, they will have to release him outright. This may be what happens, despite interest by a few teams, as explained by Sean McAdam. Basically, Smoltz’s salary requirements fall drastically after he is released by Boston, so unless someone REALLY wants him, they will let him become a free agent, then sign him for the league minimum. Unless the Braves step up (unlikely), that is what will happen. Some in the sabermetric community still believe that Smoltz has some useful innings left in him.

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The rotation situation will work itself out

Here we sit on August 4th, one-half game out of first place. It was great that we got Victor Martinez at the trade deadline, but the infield corners are not the only place where it seems we have an overflow of players to deal with. The rotation also has a lot of dubious candidates and a lot of question marks; beyond our top two, who should be going out there every fifth day? Six guys, three rotation slots plus a backup starter role. Viewed positively, this is great depth. Negatively, we’re talking about six guys who all have their problems; in 16 starts since July 1, the back end of our rotation has posted a 5-6 record and a collective 6.32 ERA. There are a number of issues which need to be looked at for each one. Let’s think it out.

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What to do with Smoltz?

Alright, time to tackle the topic of the day – John Smoltz. After six starts, the future Hall-of-Famer has averaged a mere 5 innings per outing and compiled a 7.04 ERA. This is not exactly what people were expecting, so the calls for him to be moved out of the rotation are growing. What can we say about the way he’s throwing the ball now, and can we expect things to get better for the 42-year old?

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Lowell mending, Dice-K taking it slow, Lowrie’s knee a problem

Mike Lowell says he feels better after being placed on the DL last week, and he will be hitting off of a tee starting today. Jeff Bailey was recalled in Lowell’s absence, but he may now go on the DL as well, probably opening the door for Chris Carter to see some time. Carter has been struggling since being sent back to Pawtucket back in April.

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