Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Hurry Up Theo

As those of you who have been (ahem) consistently reading know, The Ninth does strive to remain patient. A great deal of this space has been filled trying to dissuade panic on such topics as Derek Lowe, Terry Francona, the Sox defense, and others. God, I'm a failure. Anyhoots, I think there are two distinct truths in the Boston sports scene: 1) Everyone ignores the big picture, and 2) Everyone overreacts. It happens for every team, all the time, no matter what. The Patriots have been able to avoid it some, but that's mostly because they haven't lost a game since 1982. But not the Sox. The Sox are tied for third best record in the American League and a spot in the playoffs, but nobody cares. We're screwed, we're going down, it's all over. Who cares about the next, oh, 70 games? Honestly, it can get pretty exhausting, and it's more than a little, well, stupid. Agreed? Ok. So let's talk about what an idiot Theo is.

Jimmy Anderson and Joe Nelson are not major league pitchers. Their statistics suggest that and their ability certifies it. What exactly is Terry Francona supposed to do with them, have them mop the galley? Fans can complain all they like about strange choices with the game on the line, but Tito's got two one inning relievers (Timlin and Embree), a great closer, and four guys who got lost on the way to the bus station. Leskanic has good stuff, but his results have been iffy and his health is questionable. Ramiro Mendoza is either still hurt or still scared or Francona wants nothing to do with him. Williamson is great when healthy, but who knows when that's gonna happen. So what bullets does Terry have in his gun? If Boston is in a game that they have any plans of winning, there are really only two options (3 if it's the 8th or 9th), and Embree and Timlin's workload is already starting to show. Not acceptable. You could tell that Francona didn't know who to go with yesterday in Seattle, and it's not because he's dumb, it's because his bullpen's empty. He tried an over-matched Joe Nelson for a while, and when that failed he followed with a hilarious warm-up attempt by Mendoza. The guy's hands are tied, and with a doubleheader and no day off until next Thursday, it'll only get worse. Maybe Willy will come back and maybe he won't, but how hard is it for Theo to get a reinforcement? Would Buddy Groom really break the bank right now? Is Steve Reed's asking price so astronomically high that you couldn't pry him out of Colorado? I mean come on, I'm not demanding Eddie Guardado or Jose Mesa or anything, just get a serviceable reliever who can get some outs. Give Francona a chance. What happens if Pedro goes out in the fifth tonight? What are they possibly going to do? See if Cloninger has anything left? Yeah, har-dee-har-har. But when Jimmy Anderson and the Ghost of Ramiro Mendoza give up five runs in the last 4 innings and hand a game to Baltimore, no one's going to be laughing. You got that Bender? I'm sure that Epstein will get an arm or two at the deadline, but the Sox need these players now, and it's negligent to keep waiting. I refuse to believe the cost is so terribly prohibitive. Foulke's unavailable, Leskanic's unavailable, I'd be very surprised to see Timlin, and maybe Embree can give you an inning. So who's gonna close out a tight one? Better yet, who's gonna keep it a tight one. Oh, and they're playing two tomorrow. Terrific.