- Daisuke is screwed up
- Beckett and Lester are back
- Lugo has to leave Boston yesterday
- Big Papi may not be done yet
Starting with Daisuke...he looked bizarre yesterday. 102 pitches in 5.2 innings, 10 hits and five runs...but no walks and eight strikeouts?? What the hell? Those two data sets don't belong together at all. What it says is that Daisuke was hitting his spots (and he was; almost 70% of his pitches were for strikes) but that occasionally he was throwing weak stuff. At least that's what I see. I have never seen anyone with a K/BB ratio like that in a game look as bad as Daisuke did. Almost half his strikes were called or swinging strikes (32 of 71 strikes). He has first-pitch strikes to 2/3 of the batters he saw, a great percentage to have. And yet...
I don't know if it is exhaustion from the WBC or the Sox messing with his practice or what, but Daisuke looks like a pitcher possessed by two different guys. Like Bob Gibson mixed with Hideki Irabu.
On the good side, Beckett and Lester look awesome again. Beckett had a no-hitter going into the seventh in his last game and then Lester one-upped him with a perfect game going into the seventh. No word on if pink hats had a universal spaz over an announcer talking about it or not. As great as Beckett looked, Lester was phenomenal. A complete-game two-hitter and 11 strikeouts. He now has gone 3-1 in his last four games and 23 strikeouts in his last two games. Whatever was in his head to start the season has been pushed out. This is the Lester to which Boston fans have grown accustomed. Beckett meanwhile has gone 4-0 in his last four games and shaved almost 2.75 runs off his ERA. When these guys are on, like they are now, they are two of the better pitchers in the game today.
Lugo, Lugo, Lugo...LEAVE ALREADY!! Good God, how many times do we have to see him hobble towards, dive at and miss a ball hit to short? How many times must that scenario play out before Theo and the Brain Trust decide "Hey, rather than costing the team more games, why don't we man up and admit we screwed up when we signed Lugo?"
But noooooooooo...they can't admit that. They have to preserve this crazy notion that because you gave him a stupid contract that you have to play his tanked ass. Look, Theo, it was a bad deal. You have a couple of these under your belt (see Gagne, Eric and Suppan, Jeff). But continuing to play Lugo isn't going to help the team or you. So do the right thing and let Tito bench him until Lowrie comes back. And then you either trade Lugo or you let him go. He lost his speed, his glove sucks and his bat is over-rated. It is time to move on.
And then there is Papi. I have said, numerous times, that the Sox should put him on the DL so he can figure out exactly what is wrong and fix it. If it is even fixable. Because, as we know...
Age + Weight + Injury = Career off cliff
However, I was looking at his stats and something surprised me...
.300 BA, .333 OBP, .833 OPS, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 2 R
These are Papi's numbers for the month of June so far. Yes, it is a small sample size (five games, 20 AB). But these are the best numbers he has put up all year. He has at least one hit in every game.
I am not saying this is the comeback of Papi. I think the days of 40-50+ homers is pretty much over, baring some miracle diagnosis with his eyes. But if he continues this, he could become a 20-25 homer guy who rakes doubles off the Monster and uses the Pole to sneak a few extra homers. Not the end of the world for the Sox. I have changed my position to "wait and see." Let's see how Papi does against the Yanks and then re-evaluate.