What Is Working, What Is Not

He is neither a third baseman nor a pitcher (RLRS Photo).

He is neither a third baseman nor a pitcher (RLRS Photo).

It is not necessarily unknown but I think it bears noting that the Sox are playing well of late. The club slipped to 10-13 while “embarrassing” themselves on April 24. The next day the Sox got Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino back and have gone 9-5 since.

It is difficult to get a read on this team. There are days where I look at the way they are playing, the personnel in house and think they are going to repeat 2012. Other days I look at all of the above and think they are ready to get on a roll. Rather than trying to go to crazy about things I thought I would spend a few minutes breaking some of the season’s work into components;

What’s Right That Will Continue To Be Right

Jon Lester has been very good. Maybe he will not continue to be 154 ERA+ good but there is no reason to think a return to 2012 is in order. Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz remain the big bats in the lineup and after some early struggles A.J. Pierzynski has been the player we expected.

The bullpen has had some fits and starts but it feels like things are resolving themselves out there. Koji Uehara is still aweome if perhaps a slightly less awesome version than last year’s version. Andrew Miller and Burke Badenhop have moved to the fore and Junichi Tazawa is still dependable. The minor leagues continue to be a fertile ground for the Sox to either use for reinforcements or trade for the same.

What’s Wrong That Will Continue To Be Wrong

It is kind of hard when you watch him to think that Edward Mujica is going to turn this around anytime soon. More troubling is that Felix Doubront is looking like a pitcher who is just never going to be more than the occasionally brilliant, usually frustrating mediocrity he was a year ago. As MCoA noted yesterday the guys who would be likely to contribute from the minors have not particularly distinguished themselves making the rotation an area to be concerned about. Daniel Nava is looking like he used all his fairy dust last year.

Awesomeness is coming (RLRS Photo).

Awesomeness is coming (RLRS Photo).

What’s Wrong That Will Eventually Go Right

Xander Bogaerts specifically will eventually start hitting for power and that should help the 2013 league leaders in slugging to improve on their current 11th place stature. The back end of the rotation will improve simply because if Doubront and Clay Buchholz keep pitching like this the Sox will do something to straighten it out and Shane Victorino‘s return will make right field a more productive position (this has already started obviously). If Mike Carp has to pitch again I am optimistic that he can cut his walk rate from 45.0/9IP.

What’s Right That Will Eventually Go Wrong

Not a whole heck of a lot.

It is that last one that jumped out at me as I looked at where the Sox are today. Last year the Sox did not really get a lot of career years from people (maybe Nava). What they did get was a bunch of 60th to 70th percentile kind of years from people.

This year’s club seems to be suffering some of the hangover from that. Clay Buchholz is the most obvious puzzler right now. Doobs is a guy the Sox can simply punt to the bullpen but if Buchholz stinks what do they do? At some point they have to put him through a battery of tests and see what is up because he is pitching like an injured pitcher (see John Lackey – 2011).

Every time I look at the Sox in any detail I come away feeling like staying the course is the way to go. I am not saying they should not be active at the trade deadline (Giancarlo Stanton would help the slugging percentage a tad) but they need not panic.

There are flaws on this team but there is nothing illusory in the positives. That leaves the Sox in the enviable position to sit back and let the 162 game marathon play to their advantages.

7 thoughts on “What Is Working, What Is Not

  1. chris_p

    i think they are in a pretty good spot. i think there are 3 big(ish) things they have to figure out over hte next month to 6 weeks .
    1 wtf is the deal with doubrount and buchholz? … not sure how much rope they get (bucc more than doubs) before workman, barnes, webster, and capuano get a shot.
    2. is mujica broken? awful? or just unlucky? i was a fan of htis signing, but at this point it’s hard to see how he’s a better option than workman, britton, or pretty much any other young pitcher
    3. is sizemore a pumpkin? if so, do they trade carp? or do they keep carp b/c nava is a pumpkin? if it were me, carp would get any start vs. RHP where sizemore started the previous day.

  2. Chip

    I missed the game, but what was Buccholz’s velocity like on Friday? Within the results that was the biggest injury red flag in his April starts, although he was throwing 93 on the 4-seamer more recently.

  3. John C

    What’s wrong with Buchholz is a .375 average on balls in play against him. That’s completely unsustainable, unless you think his stuff has totally gone to pot, and it hasn’t. This is just the flipside of the first few months of last year, where no one could buy a hit off him even if they crushed the ball. Ride it out and his luck should even out.

  4. Jose Post author

    @chris_p: I think Sizemore is OK if not asked to do too much. I don’t think he can be asked to be an everyday contributor for even a short period of time but as a 4th/5th outfielder I think he is a good option.

  5. chris_p

    @Jose:

    agreed. it’s looking like a good usage pattern is to avoid starts on back to back days with sizemore … and with carp (or nava) and gomes, they have the roster to do that.

  6. Jose Post author

    The thing I like about Sizemore is that he can cromulently play all three positions. Again I wouldn’t want him as my everyday center fielder but once or twice a week is tolerable.

  7. Hugh Jorgan

    Nava’s pixie dust has run out, shame they didn’t sell high on him last year. Even though Sizemore is not going to produce with the stick as I had hoped(well wishcasting actually), a Sizemore, Victorino, Bradley OF is awesome. I re-watched that Gomes “effort” from the other day where he dove and was still a metre from the ball and thought, Grady would’ve caught that.
    Dustin Pedroia is awesome. Has always been awesome and will continue to be awesome….that is all.

Comments are closed.