Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Sox pitching staff, the rock upon which their 96 victory regular season performance was built, has performed badly in this series. I'm not sure what the story is behind that, but its certainly not something I was expecting, nor was it something that anyone who analyzed the series beforehand could reasonably expect. It would be like me saying before the series started that Travis Hafner would strike out 12 times with zero hits in four games (I'm just making that number up, I have no idea how many times he's struck out). Not only would there be little basis for saying it, but there would be ample historical evidence (Hafner's entire season and indeed his whole career) to point to against it.

But thats the thing about a short series (yes, seven games is very short). Just about anything can happen, and having the better team is no guarantee of winning, just as how having the worst team in the majors is no guarantee of losing.

Could the Red Sox still come back? Absolutely they could. Will they? I'd say they have a pretty lousy chance of doing so, simply because winning three games in a row while facing Sabathia and Carmona would seem unlikley. But of course it could happen.

If Sabathia and Carmona pitch like they did earlier in the series than the Sox have a decent shot to even things up. But first they have to win tomorrow. When you're facing elimination, it doesn't make any sense to start planning for the future because if you don't win now there won't be any future anyway.

To that end, the Sox need to ride Beckett for as long as he is useful. If that is ten innings, so be it. If its only two, then they need to get him out of there with as minimal damage as possible. Utilize Papelbon for two innings if need be. Put Okajima in for 2 2/3 innings if they need to.

If the score is 4-2 (doesn't matter who is ahead) in the seventh, and they need to go to the bullpen, the only two guys they need to chose between at that point are Okajima and Papelbon. Once those guys have thrown enough, then you move on to the rest of the pen if need be, but not before. Its time to stop putting your trust in guys who you think can do the job and start relying heavily on guys you know can do the job.

That, and they'll need the Indians bullpen to help them out. More Borowski and less Betancourt should do the trick.

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