Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A few things about the weekend

Did you know that Jason Varitek has homered on five straight May 20ths? His homer on Friday was his ninth of the year and the fifth consecutive year that he has hit at least one home run on May 20th. Now that's just weird.

It was a good season for the Sox. Typically they struggle in interleague play and, for some reason, they've always had trouble against the Braves. Over the weekend thanks to two very solid outings by Matt Clement and Wade Miller the Sox took two out of three. Time Wakefield has regressed a bit this season after a fantastic start and is now putting up numbers more along the lines of his career norm. I don't want to sound down on the guy because he has been very solid for a very long time for the Red Sox, but I don't think anyone really expected him to keep his ERA below 3.00 and pitch like a staff ace for the entire year. He's dependable. He's solid. But he's not an ace. Clement and Miller, on the other hand, both have the potential to be very good starters and both showed that potential over the weekend. I already mentioned Miller, but I'm even more impressed with Clement. Clement has been good all season, but in nearly every one of his starts he walked a few guys and got deep in a lot of counts. It seems like his pitch count hit 100 every time the fifth inning rolled around. On Sunday he didn't walk a batter and he was mowing down the Atlanta offense with ruthless efficiency. He gave the Red Sox their first complete game of the season and so far the man has not lost a start now that he's up to a 5-0 record. Red Sox Nation still has mixed feelings about the guy, but as I've mentioned several times before, I think he'll do great this year. His outing on Sunday was just him getting the ball rolling.

Is Manny Ramirez breaking out of his slump? It's hard to tell after one game, but Manny was hitting the ball hard to the opposite field all day on Sunday and that resulted in a 3-5 day with his 11th homer of the year. Apparently he has been having problems with outside pitches lately and he has been working on driving those pitches to the opposite field. He was able to do just that and 4 out of the 5 balls he put into play were sent to right field. I'm not a batting coach and I don't know how to analyze a swing, but I think Manny is about to go on a tear. He has been too quiet for too long and I think he's going to break out this week.

What is it about the Red Sox and rookie starters? I don't have the statistical evidence to back it up, but it seems like every time the Red Sox face an inexperience starter, they get shut down. Kyle Davies is another example of this. On Saturday Davies shut out the Red Sox for five innings, striking them out 6 times. The Red Sox still managed to score five runs, but they did allthe damage after Davies was taken out of the game. It seems like the Red Sox approach of waiting for the right pitch and then hammering it would work well against an inexperienced pitcher, but it never seems to.

Tonight David Wells takes on the Toronto Blue Jays. The last time he did that he allowed back to back to back home runs. I'm not exactly confident that the Red Sox will get the win tonight, how about you?

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