Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sox season so far - June

Well June 2006 will forever be remembered as the month that the AL whupped the NL, and no team took greater advantage of that fact than our Red Sox. A 16-2 record has contributed mightily to our 4 game lead in the East, but it has made it very difficult to truly assess where our team stands relative to our play-off chances.

The winning percentage of our NL opponents was .585, .457, .443, .434, and .429 - and while it would be nice to play another 81 games against teams of that standard, the schedule makers didn't think that was appropriate - as we will find out in three days time when we head to Chicago for three games against the .646 White Sox. However, before we write off that record as just a 'NL thing', remember that of our AL East brethren, the next best record was 4 games over .500 during that same stretch.

As an aside, having watched the Mets for the three games against the Sox, and then in person for two games in the Subway Series, I continue to struggle to believe that the Mets are the best team in the NL - that pitching staff just isn't good enough, and for all that the Mets love Milledge and Pelfrey, I still think at least one of them needs to go to get the type of return that they will need if they are serious about being more than just a play-off team.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a Sox review, not the Mets - what do the Sox need? Sadly, like pretty much every team in baseball... pitching. Our 1, 2, 3 are solid enough, which is what gives us the issue - how much do you really want to give up for a #4 or #5 starter, particularly given that Lester has been good enough to solidly fill that #5 slot at this early stage in his career, and we do have two other guys, in Clement and Wells, that should be able to fill both those spaces... but without giving you much confidence in their ability to do so. Could we persuade someone to take Clement - apparently not - but we continue to pick up 5th starter types off the waiver wire - will Jeff Weaver make that list if he clears the DFA process and refuses the opportunity to pitch in AAA?

I still think that Francona needs to relax more with Delcarmen and Hansen, and I really think we need to find somewhere that thinks that reliever's job is to give up hits galore so that we can trade them Rudy Seanez.

On the hitting side, we are really only talking about what parts of our bench could be improved - a nice problem to have. I appreciate that we all love Gabe Kapler, and that Willie Harris has a ring on his finger, but... neither is really anything other than filler material - at least Wily Mo is back soon as a genuine OF option. And just so I don't bring it up again, I won't mention how our back-up catcher is doing... honest... don't even look yourself, it is just painful...

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