Wednesday, March 16, 2005

2005 Line-up

Everybody, please welcome the defending champion Boston Red Sox starting line up.

CF Johny Damon
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Manny Ramirez
DH David Ortiz
1B Kevin Millar
RF Trot Nixon
C Jason Varitek
3B Bill Mueller
2B Mark Bellhorn

Personally, I really don't like the move of putting Bellhorn in the 9 spot. His ability to wear down a pitcher and his on base skills are far better suited second in the order. Renteria is the old school choice batting second because he has speed and a higher average, but in today's baseball world, especially a world as stat oriented as the one in Boston, Bellhorn should be the man batting behind Damon. I would put Bellhorn second, Renteria seventh, Varitek eigth, and Mueller ninth. I can definately live with the line up that Francona wants to put out there. Any combination of nine guys capable of threatening the 1000 run mark is A-OK in my books. I would just rather see Bellhorn a little higher up.

Bronson Arroyo pitched well in yesterday's win against the Devil Rays. It's widely believed that Arroyo is the odd man out when all six Red Sox starters are healthy, but I believe that's a very big mistake. Unless something out of the ordinary happens (and this is baseball....out of the ordinary tends to be the norm) Tim Wakefield is the obvious choice to get bumped to the bullpen. He is the team's worst starter and he's very versatile in the pen. He can come in early in the game, pitch a few innings, and still be ready to go again the next day. In his career he has been the long relief man, set up man, closer, and has held virtually every role a relief pitcher can have. Arroyo showed us last year that he can be a very effective starter. He also showed us last year that he's improving and could put up even better numbers this year. I think it'd be a very big mistake to make Arroyo our number six starter.

The word on Curt Schilling today is that he is not ruling out pitching on opening day. We've heard so many different things from so many different angles on Schilling this spring that it's hard to know what to believe. When opening day rolls around it is possible that it will be Schilling vs. Johnson, but I'm not counting on it. Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic, but I don't think Schilling will be making his debut until late April. What we know for sure is that Schilling is pitching a simulated game today. So we'll know a little bit more after he throws.

Comments:
Hey I post on my blog about all 30 major league teams, but being from the Boston area, I plan on focusing a lot of time on the Red Sox when applicable. You want to add each others blogs to the links to combine some readers? I like the blog, especially since you like Mark Bellhorn, which still seems to be an issue in a lot of Red Sox Nation *sigh*.

http://baseball-ranting.blogspot.com
 
I agree that Bellhorn should be batting second. His average last year wasn't much worse than Renteria's and his OBP and Slugging were both higher. The arguments for Renteria batting second are his speed and his supposed big advantage in contact. Like I said, his average wasn't much higher and even though Bellhorn struck out a ton that just means he wouldn't be grounding into double plays in those situations. I also agree about Wakefield/Arroyo.
 
Marc, your site has been added. We both started blogging around the same time so maybe our sites will become mega-stars in the Red Sox world at the same time.

Kellen, I saw a stat before about Bellhorn and I really wish I could remember where I found it. Basically it showed how Bellhorn's K-rate went way down when there were runnings on base. When he had to put the bat on the ball, he did. There probably isn't all that much difference as far as contact goes between the two. Maybe Theo will come down from the front office and smack some sense into Tito telling him that that's not how the Red Sox run their team.
 
I seem to remember that stat too, but I didn't bring it up because I didn't know what it was exactly or where I could find it if someone (you) asked about it.
 
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