Linkage: Big Papi, Lugo, Beckett and more
May 5, 2009 Leave a comment
Maybe the biggest story of the year offensively is the absence of David Ortiz’s power. Batting a mere .222/.319/.333, he has yet to jack a single pitch out of any stadium this year. Papi has been scuffling since a very slow start, swinging aggressively, striking out and getting popped up a lot. Much has been made of his 100 AB homerless drought, the longest of his career, but there are still signs that the lovable slugger may be okay yet. Since April 15th, Ortiz is batting .243/.325/.400 with 9 doubles and a triple. His walk rate is increasing, and he’s hitting a healthy 21.3% line drives, which should all reflect in his numbers eventually. Francona, of course, is steadfast in his support of Ortiz, and has not moved him from the three hole at all. I’m in agreement with that, though I’d consider sitting him a day here and a day there, just to help him clear his head.
It appears that Julio Lugo might have come back a little early from his injury. With Jed Lowrie out for an extended period, he and the organization might have felt some pressure to get him back in the lineup. So far, the results have been very poor, with Lugo the owner of a miserable .214/.313/.214 line and the culprit of several defensive mistakes already. Meanwhile, Nick Green is doing a passable job at short, hitting quite well for a lifetime .244/.313/.354 guy, but neither one of these defensive options is very good right now. The good news is that it’s a matter of time until Lowrie returns; as long as we keep winning, shortstop doesn’t become a huge issue.
Don’t worry about Josh Beckett. That’s what we keep saying, but it’s hard to fathom why he’s struggled as much this year as he has. That .388 BABIP against can’t last, plus his K rate is healthy; however he’s issued way too many free passes and gotten hit hard at times. A 4.05 FIP suggests that pitching better is just a matter of time. John Farrell believes that Beckett is pressing and overthrowing in key situations, which has resulted in hitters going .357/.456/.589 with men on, versus .254/.309/.333 with the bases empty. I say it again – calm down and be patient. Beckett will come through.
I’m not the biggest Jason Bay fan out there, but I have to say that he’s come up big in some key situations for us already this year. He’s taken on the role of Yankee-killer that used to be held by the old left fielder, “he who shall not be named”.
Joba Chamberlain’s mother was recently arrested for suspected drug trafficking. Take a look at the mug shot and you start to understand why Joba is the way he is. I almost feel a little sorry for the guy. Almost.
The Injury Wagon grows
Kevin Youkilis left last night’s game early with back stiffness.. uh oh. It didn’t seem like anything major, but we might be seeing Jeff Bailey at first base tonight.
Add a calf strain to Mark Kotsay’s growing list of setbacks at Pawtucket. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re gonna see this guy play before the All-Star Break. Well, that’s just more opportunity for Chris Carter and Bailey, which isn’t too bad.
John Smoltz is ready to throw again after a recent setback, and feels optimistic about a June debut with the Red Sox.