Sunday, May 08, 2005
Blaine Neal was sent to the minors to make room for the youngster which is a shame. I was hoping that Neal would turn out ok this year...mostly because I spent $5 to sponsor him on Baseball Reference. Neal let up 9 runs (8 earned) on 15 hits, 3 walks, and 2 homers.
Edited to add So, 2 walks, a grand slam, and a double later, the Cla Meredith expiriment isn't looking so hot. Maybe he was a little nervous or maybe he just wasn't getting away with some of the things that he could get away with in the minors. Then again, maybe Varitek didn't know his stuff and called for the wrong pitches or maybe the constant drizzle made it so that Meredith couldn't get a good grip on the ball. Whatever the reason, he couldn't find the plate. While only a couple of his pitches missed by a mile, most of his were obvious balls, but only a few inches off the plate. This makes me think that it was a combination of nerves and not being able to get away with the same stuff. It can't really be blamed on the rain. It's probably not the first time he pitched in the rain and the rest of the players were playing in the same condition. Perhaps he'll settle down, perhaps he'll find himself back in Pawtucket after the game...
Several Sox bloggers were suggesting that this guy get a shot in the majors, but I don't think I'm a big fan of the idea. I'm not scout and tonight was actually the first time that I've seen his stuff, so I can't give an expert opinion, but I'm not sure if I see the logic behind it. I just think that there are options that don't include so much risk. Meredith has been lighting things up in AA this year, but he's never blown people away before this year, he's 21, and he hasn't pitched above AA. He may have really good stuff, but he's a huge risk and some time in Pawtucket to see what he has would probably do him a world of good. Instead of sending down Lenny Dinardo when Wade Miller came off the DL, why not just keep Dinardo around and send Neal down then? If they wanted to shake things up and go with someone new, Chris Naverson and Mark Malaska are older and have more experience. Naverson, admittedly, is only a year older and has only a little bit of experience in AAA, but still, that's something. And Malaska went through nearly a year with Boston last year. Why not go with him? I can see wanting to shake things up a bit and I can see wanting to give the young kid a shot, but I think it'd make a little bit more sense if they let him loose on the International League before throwing him to the wolves.
I agree though that it probably wasn't best to call him up yet. I probably would have kept Neal around. He is a better pitcher than he's shown and he was being put in difficult situations. I think he could have turned it around.