Links 5-13-2010: Toronto series encouraging, Beckett, more

Despite the 3-2 loss to end the series, I’d argue that we actually ended that series on an up note. Sure, the offense looked pitiful against Shaun Marcum, but he’s a pretty good pitcher, and Dale Scott helped him and Tim Wakefield out plenty. Wake turned in a really good performance too, and we nearly pulled it out at the end.

David Ortiz continues to show signs of life, so the calls for him to be released are still premature. After being called out on strikes on a 3-2 fastball way out of the zone yesterday, Ortiz was livid. Terry Francona backed him up, getting tossed from the game, and Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew and Jerry Remy all agreed with PITCHf/x that there was no way that pitch was a strike (see pitch #7):

Papi called out on on "strikes" in the 9th

Not only was it outside, but not even Albert Pujols could have gotten to that one (probably). I understand the zone was expanded all game, but to call that a strike in the top of the 9th during a comeback is just plain irresponsible. BTW, read this article by Jeremy Greenhouse on how pitchers may be adjusting to specific umpires.

Congratulations are in order to Wakefield, who recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in yesterday’s game. The man is still doing a decent job at age 43, and I understand his frustration at not getting his shot to build his career wins total. But the team’s gotta come first, and short of trading him, right now I agree with what they’re doing.

Josh Beckett still has no timetable for his return, and Wakefield will own the spot for now. I’d still rather have Beckett going for us every 5th day. FanGraphs does an analysis on Daisuke Matsuzaka’s surprising control in his last start, and concludes that he may be improving, though it’s hard to say yet.

Brian MacPherson points out that the bullpen’s performance has largely been affected by the rotation’s failure so far. As I’ve said a hundred times, the best way to build a good bullpen is to build a strong rotation.

Jonathan Papelbon has learned to mix it up this year, after finding that some people are learning what to do with his fastball.

If you park in Brookline for Sox games, consider the petition against removing these spots. Parking is already ridiculous at Fenway, and getting rid of these spots will only drive up prices even more.

Jose Iglesias is speaking volumes with his bat at Double-A Portland, and is rapidly moving up the prospect charts as a result.

Bloomberg Sports compares Darnell McDonald with the Pirates’ Garrett Jones from last year. I think that’s a much more apt comparison than Nelson Cruz, anyway (McDonald compared himself with Cruz during the last series with Texas).


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