2008 Playoff redux

With eight games left (seven of them at home), the Red Sox have all but sewn up a playoff berth. The question remains, will the Tampa Rays slip enough for the Sox to take the division? At this point, the Sox would have to outplay them by 3 wins (Tampa has the divisional record advantage, so a tie isn’t good enough). That means if the Rays go 4-5, we have to go 7-1, and that will dictate a lot about the playoffs.

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Buchholz, Bowden shut down

The seasons of Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden have come to a close. The front office has decided not to call them up, effectively ending their seasons. Sox fans will have to wait until next season to see these promising young arms pitch at Fenway again. Buchholz finishes with 134 2/3 IP total, and Bowden pitched 149 1/3 IP total. This was kind of a lost year for Buchholz, thanks to the DL stint and the failed arm slot experiment. Bowden was excellent this year, and improved his stock a lot; I’d expect to see him on the Pawtucket Express a few times next season.

Bartolo Colon looks like he might finally be ready to pitch, and is currently penciled in as a starter on Saturday against the Blue Jays.

Last start leaves Beckett feeling numb

After easily his worst start in two years, Josh Beckett complained of tingling and numbness in his throwing hand. That’s bad news. The Red Sox have pushed back his next start an extra three days in order to get him some rest.

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Sox complete trade for Paul Byrd

A Byrd in the hand… It’s hard to believe that the Sox, who began the season with an embarrassing excess of starting pitching, now have to trade for rotational depth, but here it is. The Sox acquired 37-year old starter Paul Byrd from the Indians for a PTBNL or cash yesterday. The player will be of minimal value, according to Indians GM Mark Shapiro. Byrd will likely take over the 5th slot in the rotation, allowing young Clay Buchholz to go back to Pawtucket (again) and sort out his recent struggles.

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Wakefield hits the DL; Bowden Boston-bound?

Pitcher Tim Wakefield will be placed on the 15-day DL with a stiff shoulder and is scheduled to miss two starts. He will receive a cortisone shot and rest his throwing arm. The injury is not unlike the shoulder pain that kept him off the playoff roster last season, and it was expected that the 41-year old would probably need some time off this year. This move serves the double purpose of giving Wakefield some extra recovery time and a chance to pace himself for the stretch run.

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Colon problems

Sorry for the rather gross title. But it seems Bartolo Colon has hit another speed bump in his throwing program. He felt discomfort during long toss at 120 feet the other day, and will take a couple of days off. Let’s just hope it was the big lunch he ate, and not anything serious.

Francona set a re-evaluation timeline of after the All-Star Break for the big righty.

2008 Mid-season report

At 49-32, the Boston Red Sox hold a 1-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East. Their .605 winning percentage is second in the AL only to the Los Angeles Angels (.608), but we have a much better run differential of +70, suggesting that they are (once again) playing over their heads a little bit and are an overrated team. That being said, the running Angels do seem pretty consistently to outperform their Pythagorean projections. So 81 games in, your Boston Red Sox are one of, if not the best, the top teams in the AL and a clear favorite to make the playoffs once again.

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