Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rough Loss

If you were curious as to why some people have been spazzing out over Papelbon as the closer this year, last night should give you some insight as to why that is happening.

I am not one of those people. I am a little concerned by his escalating WHIP (now at 1.37), but his saves are high and his blown saves are actually down from last year so far. The simple truth is that some games get away from you. It happens to great teams and great closers. I think 2004 taught us a lesson in that.

This isn't to say we can't be disappointed. Papelbon wasted a great offensive effort from the lineup. Ellsbury continued his multi-hit game streak, which now stands at five games. Youk went 3-5 with a pair of RBI. Even Drew decided to show up, going 3-5 and scoring a pair of runs. The bats continue to explode.

Nor is it all Papelbon's fault. All he did was blow the save; it was Delcarmen that gave up the winning run. The only relief pitcher that didn't look bad last night was Bard. But as I said before, there will be games like this. The trick is not to avoid being disappointed, but to keep from extrapolating a bad game across the rest of the season.

Which is why I am avoiding sports radio today. Would anyone like to wager that people will call in today saying that Boston needs help in the pen? Or that Papelbon needs to be traded? Or that now, NOW, we desperately need Jack Wilson to come in.

This has to be addressed as well. Nick Green picked a hell of a time to catch another bout of Error-itis. But the bottom line is that since May he has been one of the best shortstops in the AL. Jack Wilson is not some kind of massive upgrade at the position. Yes, Green made two ill-timed and ill-executed throws that contributed directly to Boston's loss. But that doesn't mean Theo should make some kind of panic move.

And none of this changes the fact that Boston still has one of the best bullpens in the game. So everyone needs to take a collective breath and chill out. We're still just 2.5 back of New York, we are firmly in the wild-card driver's seat and there is plenty of baseball to be played. If this keeps happening, then you may panic.

As for trade talk, Gordon Edes revamped his original story about Halladay and Boston's pursuit of him. The new take on the possible trade has the Sox offering Buchholz, one of Masterson, Bowden or Lars Anderson, and some lesser prospects to fill out the deal. Also, there would be no third team involved.

I'm still on board with this. Anderson, for as much potential as he has, is expendable because of guys like Aaron Bates and Anthony Rizzo in the system. I'd hate to lose either Masterson or Bowden. But if Bowden goes then we keep Masterson where he is. And if Masterson goes then the Sox would likely slot Bowden into his position. The "lesser prospects" thing sometimes worries me because you'll think your team made out well and then you see some Top 20 prospect on the list and you almost throw up in your mouth. But as it stands, this would still be a deal that the Sox could do and not lose a lot of depth from their farm system.

The Sox have also been sniffing around Cliff Lee. But, as with all these rumors, who knows what to believe. We won't know for sure until the deadline comes and goes.

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