Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Looking back at... our pitching

Well the Sox appear to be on the verge of adding Josh Beckett - but given how things tend to work on Sox deals (See Rod, E, for details) I will wait until the deal is done before getting too excited.

Continuing my theme of looking back at how the Sox performed in 2005, it does seem an appropriate time to look more at our pitching performance in the season past.

When you consider that the Sox ranked 24th, 19th, 24th, 24th, 20th and 25th (team ERA, Blown Save %, Runs Allowed, Batting Average Against, On Base %, Slugging % respectively), it is fair to say that our pitching staff wasn't our greatest asset - although that ignores the fact that they ranked 7th, 9th and 1st (in BB/9, K/BB and... ... ta da... Hit Batters! - be proud Sox fans). What it is fair to say, is that the Sox achieved what they did in 2005 on the strength of their hitting, and that our pitching has to be the key issue to address for our new GM, whoever, and whenever, that might be.

One thing that stood out for me was the Blown Save % - the Sox bullpen blew exactly 1 in 3 leads that were handed to them (19 of 57 opportunities) - of the teams ranked below them, only three had winning records on the year - the Mets, the Phillies and... the Braves, only four teams above them had losing records, led by the Pirates who blew only 12 save opportunities all season... but they only had 47 opportunities all season, second lowest in the majors (say hello Kansas City). The Sox didn't lose all those games (for example), but it clearly placed a lot of pressure on both the pitching staff and our hitters.

The Sox bullpen in 2006 will include Foulke and Timlin, most likely ROOGY Bradford and LOOGY Myers and potentially Hansen, Delcarmen and DiNardo - will that be good enough? A lot clearly depends on Foulke, and his ability to bounce back from a truly horrendous 2005 season. I guess the key is hoping that his season foundered on physical issues rather than the mental issues that appeared to be a large part of the problem latterly.

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