Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Strange how it hasn't been commented on much (at least at the forums I frequent), but Matsuzaka is quietly becoming the ace of the Red Sox staff. His ERA over the past month plus is under 1.50. Thats sick. Thats National League sick. Josh Beckett may have taken over the title of "Ace" of the starting staff, but Matsuzaka may be the best starting pitcher the Red Sox have to offer. Tonight, he took another step in that direction, throwing eight shutout innings and striking out nine while only walking one. This effort was enough (surprisingly?) to earn him a 4-1 win.

In a more relieving development, kinda like finally finding a rest stop on the freeway after you've been holding it for two hours, Julio Lugo hit two singles. By doing so, he snapped an 0-33, a streak of futility that is truly difficult to fathom. Francona had Lugo batting ninth in the order, which is where he should be if he's going to play at all.

Baseball Prospectus sends out a daily newsletter which features a 'stat of the day.' Today's stat was the worst hitting shorstops in the American League. You can probably guess who the worst was, but I'll reprint it here anyway. They are as follows:

Player, Team, EqA, VORP

Julio Lugo, BOS, .200, -11.4
Ben Zobrist, TBA, .117, -7.5
Alex Cintron, CHA, .173, -6
Neifi Perez, DET, .164, -5.1
Juan Uribe, CHA, .217, -4.5

Lugo's EqA (thats Equivalent Average) is the second highest (not quite a badge of distinction, but...), however he has the highest VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) because the Red Sox keep insisting on playing him, despite his tremendous suckitude. Its impressive that the team is where it is despite Lugo pulling them down.

Other than Lugo, the Red Sox offense didn't exactly light up the scoreboard (Lugo's hit was the only one that scored any runs, the other two runs were scored on sacrifices). Papi continued his slump (I think we can officially label it as such). Wily Mo Pena, playing for J.D. Drew due to what I assume was both a platoon split and a chance to get Wily Mo some playing time, struck out four times in four at-bats leaving five runners on base in the process. This is longhand for saying we're not out of the woods yet, folks.


Okajima has been terrific this season. This is why you should NOT vote for him for the All-Star game. In fact, you should vote against him.

The season is a long one, and Okajima could use the rest. We all know Francona won't be the one to give him any, so this is a chance for him to take three days off in the middle of the longest season he has ever played in and recharge his batteries a bit. If he makes the All-Star team he won't get the chance to do that. This could be crucial down the stretch of the season.

Further, by adding a player from another team, you can simultaneously rest Okajima at the expense of an important player from a competing team. So, if you must, vote for Jeremy Bonderman, who's lack of rest could actually benefit the Red Sox down the line.

AL East: In other AL East action, the Yankees won while Baltimore lost. The Blue Jays are currently losing to Oakland 2-1 in the sixth inning. Pending the outcome of that game, the Red Sox lead the division by 11.0 games over both New York and Toronto. Baltimore is 15.0 games back, and Tampa brings up the rear, 18.0 games behind.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Tim Wakefield tries to pull his record (currently 8-8) over .500. He is opposed by former Dodgers prospect and current blowout patch Edwin Jackson. Gametime 1:05pm EST.

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