Saturday, October 08, 2005

What went wrong?

The Sox season is over so it's time to start pointing fingers:
  • Injuries. The Sox two most important pitchers were pretty much ineffective and hurt all year. When Schilling and Foulke are good and healthy they help the entire pitching staff. Along with the wins, Schilling saves the bullpen and takes the pressure off the other starters. With a steady Foulke in the ninth, the other relievers are put into roles that they can handle. Find a World Series Champion who won without their two best pitchers. I'm not including Wade Miller and Matt Mantei's injuries -- they were gambles who the Sox knew would probably get hurt. It's like dating a porn star and being surprised that she cheated on you. The Sox knew what they were getting into.
  • Bullpen. Foulke screwed it up, but there's plenty of blame to spread. Pretty sad that the only reliable reliever was Timlin who was overrated this year. A good reliever does not allow inherited runners score like Timlin did.
  • Theo Epstein. I'm putting him here because I just wrote about the bullpen. Looking at the White Sox and Angels play, I keep asking myself, why couldn't the Sox find relievers like these guys. I'm not blaming Theo for not making any moves at the trade deadline -- I'm glad he held on to his prospects because there really wasn't much out there. Then there's the starting rotation. Theo bashers keep saying how much Pedro and Lowe would have helped. I'm not buying it. Pedro was helped by the NL lineups and I still don't think he was worth that big contract. Lowe didn't do anything special this year. The problem for Theo was the timing of losing two starters -- it was a bad time to look for starters. What could Theo have done to get something better than Wells and Clement? Other than trading for Hudson or Mulder, there weren't many good pitchers out there.
  • Hitting. This sounds stupid considering that the Red Sox had the best hitting lineup in baseball, but the hitters were to blame for September's struggles and the playoffs. I should have put Damon in the injury section. He was the spark plug of the lineup and when injuries finally caught up to him, it affected the whole lineup. The basic problem was the Red Sox became solely dependent on Manny and Ortiz. Varitek was great early in the season, but he faded dramatically which happens to catchers. The source of the problem is first base and right field.
  • The Yankees. Cashman struck gold with Small and Chacon and Giambi's steroids finally kicked in. Because the Yankees had an amazing September, the Red Sox couldn't coast into the post season. If the Yankees were out of the division race, Schilling would have started game 1 and Clement might not have even pitched. Also Francona would have been able to give needed rest to players like Varitek and Damon.
Let's start blaming some players.
  • Millar. Terrible (but thank you for getting that walk against Rivera in Game 4)
  • Trot Nixon. He's been a disappointment
  • Renteria. His hitting was average until you look at how much money he makes, and his defense was pathetic. Theo should have signed Eckstein to keep the shortstop seat worm for Hanley Ramirez
  • Bellhorn. At least he played good defense, but his season long slump was painful to watch.
  • Jay Payton. The Sox needed a good 4th outfielder with the inevitable injury to Trot Nixon. Payton complained his way out of Boston right before he would have had a lot of playing time. The Gabe Kapler injury made Payton's departure even more painful.
  • The Godfather. His hiatus from the board coincided with the Yankees improvement. Coincidence?


Bryan said...

I'll disagree with your assesment on the injuries. All teams have to deal with injuries. The only thing that I will buy for an argument for injuries is that Epstein did not do a good of replacing those injuries, or has not done a good enough job of building the farm system to compensate for those injuries.
The Atlanta Braves, which I realize is a team that is in a class of its own, had somewhere around ten rookies in their lineup at various times, all due to injuries. It was the same argument that I had to shoot down for the many illogical Cubs fans that blamed injuries for this season.

BTW, Kerry Wood just won the simulated Cy Young Award

The Godfather said...

First, you should add Dan Shaunessey. Ever since he wrote that article that the Sox will win the division by more than 10 games, the season went downhill.

I am glad you mentioned Theo. His moves did not pan out this year. Renteria is probably the easiest to criticize. Wells was a great signing, but did they ever really replace Pedro? Clement was good for a long time, but in the stretch, he was horrible. I look at Wells as a replacement to Lowe, clutch pitcher who you want to have the ball in a big game. I just don't see Clement as a replacement to Pedro. Pitching wins championships. I heard that 1000 times last year in Boston. Now this year, all's I heard was the offense would carry them. Once Houston or Chicago wins the WS, it will be safe to realize that pitching is the key to winnig postseason games (when will Omar Minaya realize this?)

It was a good eason for the Sox. It willbe interesting to see where they go in the future. They have youth that deserves a shot, but it may lead to some sub par results for a year or two. For those who have not nopticed, Theo is not signed yet. His contract expires 10/31. He may be the most influential free agent on the Sox future.

As much as I would like to dislike Damon, I don't. He is essential to this Sox team. He is maybe the msot productive leadoff hitter in the game (sorry Ichiro).

Lastly, I DO NOT want to see Manny in a Mets uniform next year. Unfortunately, I think it is almost a guarentee.

Patriotsy2k said...

2 funny comments: "It is like dating a porn star and being surprised she cheated on you". Sign me up, I don't care what she does on her spare time..
"Kerry Wood just won the simulated Cy Young award". What game are you playing? Playstation or XBox?
I have nothing to add to this, since I am still disgusted by the 6th inning of Friday's game. Being in Atlanta this weekend, I found myself amongst Sox fans. The only White Sox fan happened to be this annoying, boisterous, little guy who sat very close to us. Later on in the game, he kept reminding us that we have np pitching. No argument there...