Saturday, May 21, 2005
yesterday's news and notes
I don't mention Mike Timlin nearly enough here and I think that's the case with Sox coverage everywhere. The guy hardly ever gets any attention despite the amazing season he's having. He's on pace to have the best year of his very long career and helped that along last night with 1.2 innings of perfect baseball. The last time he allowed a run was on April 16th. He's giving the Sox that brilliant set up man that several of the really good clubs have. That's something that the Sox have been lacking for a while. They've had decent bullpens, but never the automatic scoreless innings pitched that Timlin has been giving them every time he touches the ball.
If only we could say as much about Keith Foulke. The optimistic Red Sox fans are saying that they're not worried about the guy. They're saying that he'll come around. He's too good not to come around. Well, he's not coming around. He made last night's game far too close for comfort. There was a little blurb in this week's Sports Weekly saying that several of Keith Foulke's friends believe his struggles this year are related to his pending divorce. If that's the case, just shoot the bitch and let's move on. The Red Sox have too much riding on Keith Foulke to let off field issues get in the way. Whatever the reason behind his pitching is, the fact remains that the guy has sucked this year. The only good thing one can say about the 3 hits and 2 runs he let up in last night's game is that at least, this time, he didn't let up a home run.
Johnny Damon and Jason Varitek remain on fire, which is good because Manny Ramirez went 0 for the night once again, bringing his average down to .230. I don't think I'm too worried about Manny yet. I'm not sure why Foulke has me cringing every time he is on the field, but I still have faith in Manny, but that's the way it is for me. I'm positive that Manny will break out of it. He's still hitting the ball for power, he's just not getting the base hits. He's striking out 25.9% of the time, which is high, but he's had those kind of strike out numbers before in his career. His strike out percentage fluctuates a lot from year to year so it's hard to tell if he'll start making better contact, but I'm confident enough to say that even if he remains at this strikeout level he'll be able to raise his average at least to the .280-.300 range. Manny, for the most part, is getting the job done. He's still knocking in the runners and a .353 OBP isn't very Manny like, but it's still passable. He'll come around, but until he does Damon, Varitek, and Trot Nixon seem to have no problem carrying the team.
One thing I liked about last night's line up is that Kevin Millar is slowly falling in it. He was batting seventh last night, but that's still not good enough. With Roberto Petaine crushing the ball in Pawtucket (he's only hitting .233, but already has 4 homers in 7 games), Kevin Youkilis already putting up good numbers at the major league level, and John Olerud making rehab starts, that gives 3 guys in the organization that are likely better options at first than the struggling sack of potatoes. I hope to see the guy benched in the upcoming weeks and I hope to see him packing his bags and moving somewhere like Tampa Bay for next year. For now, a drop to 7th in the line up will have to do.
Doug Mirabelli went down with a wrist injury. Apparently the injury came on Wednesday night when he brought David Ortiz's bat to the plate. Ortiz has a heavier bat than Mirabelli and he somehow tweaked his wrist swinging it. He went a few days hoping that he'd be fine, but the injury persisted and he was placed on the DL. I was hoping that means that we'd get to see how Kelly Shoppach performs at the major league level, but Shawn Wooten and his .225/.291/.384 line at Pawtucket got the call instead. The move makes sense. Shoppach wouldn't be able to play every day if he was called up. I'm still a little bit dissapointed though.