Thats absolutely enough with Eric Gagne pitching in close games. No more, please! Its quite clear the guy is either injured/can't pitch in Boston/emotionally scared from eating bad blueberries/something else it doesn't matter.
At this point he's been given chance after chance after chance and it simply hasn't worked.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have the good Eric Gagne. Love it. Imagine if the Sox had Paps, Okajima and the Eric Gagne we traded for? Thats what we in the industry call "the good bullpen." But guess what? Without Gagne we still have Paps, Okajima, Timlin, and Delcarmen. Thats still pretty good.
To me, and this could be the beers talking, its clear that there is no more good Eric Gagne. Only Zool. And Zool is a pretty crappy relief pitcher. Since Gagne joined the Red Sox at the trade deadline he's pitched in fifteen games and has a WHIP over 2.00. Thats not a huge sample size, but its big enough. Its not like he hasn't been getting the call, or he has had a few atrocious outings. Nope. Its been consistent suckitude.
Take tonight for example. Gagne comes in with the Sox leading 2-1. He promptly gets Reed Johnson and Alex Rios out on seven pitches. Two down, nobody on. Then, as things often do with Gagne, everything went south. He walked Frank Thomas on five pitches. Then he gave up a single. Then he walked Matt Stairs to load the bases. What? You really like walks? Well, good news for you, because Eric Gagne loves walks too! To prove it, he then walked Greg Zaun to force in the tying run. Then double two more runs score blah blah blah...
The thing was, even though he got the first two guys out, his control was all over the place the whole inning. He clearly had no idea where the ball was going regardless of what pitch he was throwing. I know Francona is trying to protect him and show confidence in him, and I respect that very much. In fact, I think its one of the many reasons that Francona should be named Manager of the Year after the season ends. That said, its time to cut bait on this one, Mr. Francona (because I know you read this blog religiously).
I still think it was a good trade. Or at least on paper. But its time to face facts: it hasn't and isn't and won't work out like we'd hoped. Its time to pull the plug on this one. So when the score is 2-1, regardless of who is ahead and the game is getting on in innings, bring someone else in. Please.
On another depressing topic, the Orioles are laying down like dogs again. What a terrible and embarrassing franchise they have become. Every September, but sometimes as early as August, the Orioles go into their typical end-of-the-year tailspin where whomever they're playing gets automatic wins. Its really shameful.
Tonight, the Yankees were the lucky recipients of the Orioles largess to the tune of 12-0. Hey, at least they're trying right? Right?