White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Acolytes Of ...Whatever The Hell The Opposite Of Hope Is

Updated as of 11:06 PM: I forgot in my original post around 10:30 that I wanted to mention the fact that I would rather not see Jason Varitek as the Sox full time catcher after this season. We are at the point that Francona should consider using the DH to replace him rather than the pitcher. It's terrible. Also, after the Rays just completed the sweep in the Trop you could hear Sweet Caroline playing in the background. Don't tell me this team isn't starting to get cocky. They are, and they deserve to be.

Let me start this by saying that I am right now watching the Red Sox bullpen blow yet another lead. They had the game under control, loaded the bases, and the Craig Hansen walked in a run before giving up a two run double. In comes David Aardsma, who manages to reload the bases. Francona is now coming out to bring in Javier Lopez. We are screwed, and are now down 7-4 in a game that should be over by now because the bullpen gave up 6 runs.

My esteemed colleague Mr. Pingree wrote a very nice piece just a month ago praising the fact that the bullpen gave up 5 runs in a game against the Kansas City Royals. He said he believed that this bullpen could throw hard, and that the runs they gave up were because the other team got lucky. I’m here to tell you that is not the case. Here is why.

Manny Delcarmen was great last year, and his numbers don’t look too bad till you realize he has a 1.25 walks/hits to innings pitched ratio. Not good. Batters are also hitting well over .300 when he gets down at any point in the count. Basically, if the first pitch isn’t a strike you can expect a hit.

Craig Hansen. A man with so much talent, but can’t do anything with it. His ERA is going to be over 5 after tonight, and his WHIP will be well over 1.5. That is terrible for a pitcher, especially one we rely on in late game situations.

Hideki Okajima has a decent ERA, but his WHIP is also high at 1.36. He has really struggled lately as well, and teams seem to be figuring him out.

David Aarsdma seems to be the best of the “Acolytes Of Hope”, posting an ERA under 3 (well, until tonight), but even his WHIP is high at 1.38.

Even Paps has struggled closing the door at times, already posting more blown saves (4) than he had all of last year. He is still pitching well, but not at the level we expect of him.

Overall, we have a 3.92 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP as a bullpen…well, over 4 ERA after tonight. That isn’t cutting it for a team that is considered the favorite to win the World Series. Lets compare those numbers to every division leading teams bullpens.

Tampa Bay Rays: 3.18 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Chicago White Sox: 2.63 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

Los Angeles Angels: 4.10 ERA, 1.40 WHIP (In their defense, both Scot Shields and K-Rod are putting up very good numbers.)

Arizona Diamondbacks: 3.62 ERA, 1.24 WHIP (interesting side note…they have a reliever by the name of Bill Buckner. Awkward.)

Philadelphia Phillies: 2.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

Chicago Cubs: 3.47 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

So, there you have it. I would argue the Red Sox bullpen is the worst out of that entire group, and clearly they’ve gotta do something if they want to be in competition when it’s all said and done.

Also, just as a side note.

New York Yankees: 3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

Not saying, I’m just saying…

~Aaron Jackson

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