Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Win Is A Win

If you just looked at the score from Boston's 5-1 win over the Tigers, you'd assume that Daisuke pitched well. That he finally solved his problems en route to his first win of the season.

You'd be wrong.

Daisuke was all over the map last night, losing batters after getting an 0-2 or 1-2 count or putting them on the corners with one out. But what Daisuke recaptured last night was his unique talent of getting out of those crazy jams.

So despite his lack of control (mis-locating fastballs, for God's sake!), throwing 96 pitches in five innings and all the rest, Daisuke only gave up one run last night. Thanks to J.D. Drew* and Jason Bay, that was all he need to do for the win.*

Not that he was able to rest easy on the bench. After watching Delcarmen, Oki and Ramirez throw three awesome innings of relief (no runs, no hits, no walks), Papelbon came on for one of the weirdest ninth innings I have ever seen.

Paps loads the bases on three straight singles and puts the tying run at the plate. And then he proceeds to strike out the next three batters to preserve the win. What the hell? I cannot recall ever seeing that happen in the ninth inning before. Papelbon has this bad habit of going between periods of dominance and shakiness. Right now, he hasn't had a clean ninth inning since May 19 against Toronto. That's five appearances in a row where the opposing team has gotten at least one hit off of Paps.

The new lineup for the Sox is continuing to pay dividends. Pedroia went 1-4 with a walk, scored a run and drove in a run. Drew is thriving in the second position so far and Jason Bay is doing just fine as the clean-up hitter. His two-run shot in the third only made that point clearer.

But it seems the drop in the lineup for David Ortiz hasn't done much. He had a nice hit early on last night but then struck out three times and went 1-5. His batting average is .186 and falling. Nick Green is out-averaging him to the tune of over 100 points. It is time for management to put Ortiz on the DL and get him down into XST to drop some weight and lessen the pressure on his knees, and then to find a new swing. This isn't something you work your way out of. This is a "step back and re-evaluate" kind of problem. Everyone seems to know that except for Ortiz and the Sox brass.

However, let's end the recap on a happy note. With yesterday's victory, Tito has now reached the 500 win mark with the Red Sox. His overall record is 500-362 for a .580 clip, the best winning percentage for any manager in Boston history with 5+ years under their belt. Only three coaches have managed more games than Tito's 862; Joe Cronin, Pinky Higgins and Bill Carrigan. Add in Tito's two World Series championships and there is no argument here; Francona is the best coach the Red Sox have ever had.

Tonight's game has the resurgent Josh Beckett facing Armando Galarraga. He has started against Boston once and gave up five runs in the process. Hopefully that's a good omen for the team and they will continue Galarraga's problems.


* I can't believe I just typed that.

** The problem is that he prepared differently for the WBC this year. My eternally-unanswered question is why did the Sox insist on tampering with his preparation? If more throwing made Daisuke dominant in Japan, then let him do it here. All I can see is that Boston lowered his throwing and he went on the DL twice in two years. The man's shoulder is made for a heavy load. So let him do it!


Aviv said...

DL him. Send him to XST. Doesn't matter. Papi is done!

Dave said...

We won't know until the Sox actually give him time to try and fix what's wrong. Dropping 20-30 pounds to start wouldn't hurt.