Wednesday, August 25, 2004

No More Nomar?

--Boston Dirtdogs is reporting that Nomar Garciaparra maybe be done for the season with an injury to the wrist. Like we've said before, the site isn't a bible, but they're right more often than they're wrong. If Nomar does miss a big chunk of the home stretch, Theo looks like a genius and a fortune teller. Better than a geek with a crew cut.

-- Last night Mike Timlin looked a lot like the playoff version of Mike Timlin. Don't tell me he's going to make up for the absence of Scott Williamson though, because he can't. He's not good enough, and neither is Curtis Leskanic, despite what the Herald suggested this morning. There is no dominant bullpen arm in Boston other than Keith Foulke's, and if you're looking for a hometown 1-2 punch the likes of Gordon/Rivera or K-Rod/Percival, go check the disabled list, because that's where it's hiding. But there's more than one way to build a bullpen. What the Red Sox have that other clubs don't is extreme depth. If managed correctly, they have the ability to optimize every important matchup from the 7th inning on. Mendoza, Embree, Timlin, Leskanic, Myers, Adams, and Foulke. That's 7 quality guys that can trot in and out at will, depending on the situation. Sure it's not three Gossages and a couple of Sutters, but it's reliable. They can get outs, and they can do it in different ways. This is not a bunch that should result in one guy in the 7th, another in the 8th, and the closer in the 9th. It's a handy way to do business, but it doesn't play to their strengths. To maximize this pen you've got to go by an out here and out there, using your strikeout guys when you need them and your sinkers when you don't. No one pitcher has enough talent to overcome everything the other team can offer, but as unit their skill set is wide and deep. It's not something you'll find in New York, Minnesota, or Anaheim, but if Francona is careful it could be just as good. Or hey, maybe even a little better.

-- Wakefield's knuckler seems to have stomped knuckling, and it's been going on for over a month. The pitch just isn't fooling people. The best way to tell is passed balls, and Mirabelli hasn't muffed one in a while. Hope he sorts that out.

-- The good thing about slumping players is that usually they'll break out and compensate. Players tend to be average, for themselves anyway, and extremely good or bad years just don't happen that often. Hence the term average. So if a .280 hitter hits .250 for the first half, there's a pretty good chance they'll go .310 in the second half. Norms tend to be norms. For the second half you might think you have a great player on your hands, but you don't really -- you just have the natural result of the lousy one you had in the first. No one has proved this better over the last month that Kevin Millar and Jason Varitek. Slump now, feast later. It's almost worth it when they start feasting. Right?

-- I promise you Bill Belichick was much more happy than sad that the Patriots got whooped on Saturday. It's not that easy to motivate on 14 straight wins. Getting clock by 30 points by the Blah Blah Bengals however - another story.

-- The wild card won't be decided until the last two weeks of the season. Don't expect anyone to pull away until the West teams start playing each other over and over. This won't get comfortable any time soon. But isn't it more fun that way?