Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not a Good Flashback

Hey David Ortiz! Wonder if your harsh, unfair treatment is based on an unfairly-small sample size, like seven at-bats? Here's why you're wrong:

Jon Lester.

Two rough to quite-rough outings so far in 2010 for one of the Red Sox' three aces. Not quite as rough as Ortiz's start, but you know what I'm saying. However, nobody (except for the Boston Dirt Dog, who is advocating for Johnny Damon to be the Red Sox' newest starting pitcher when he does his one weekly post) is advocating Lester's demotion. Despite a viable alternative in a pseudo-injured Matsuzaka mowing them down in Pawtucket right now. Why is this?

Because Red Sox fans and experts can look past the two outings alone and see that it's not a problem. Meanwhile, people are freaking out regarding Ortiz because if you look past the rough 2010 start, you see half a year last year. You see his age, his weight. And, oh, you see the fact that his use of vitamins and supplements was irresponsible.

With Lester, we've seen a couple of flashbacks to the 2007 Jon Lester, a guy who doesn't have terrific command of his stuff, misses the strike zone but not so much that he's walking 6-7 guys, and gets worked deep into the count. So we've seen this before, but we have many indications that Lester will rebound from this funk, because he's young, he's had a proven RECENT track record of elite performances, and there is no reason to think these performances were the result of him irresponsibly using vitamins and supplements.

Really, what I'm trying to say is that Ortiz, his apologists (hello Terry Francona and WEEI), and the other people who hold a grudge against Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermida for their fantasy teams' downfalls need to open their eyes. It's not about the 2010 slow start. It's about a lot more than that.

Other fun stuff:
-Jeremy Hermida's neck is not stiff. Hermida was a first-round pick, so it's very possible that this guy is more than just a bench player. An .870 OPS a few years ago. How many 0-3 games with a strikeout and two weak ground balls to the right side will Drew have to put up before he gets his playing time limited? Hermida, currently 26 and therefore near the prime of his career, probably should not be a bench player on any team in baseball.
-Baseball should not be played outside in Minnesota in April or October. They lucked out yesterday, but it's still irresponsible. Especially if Bud Selig and MLB are willing to work playoff schedules around episodes of So You Think You Can Dance and postpone the end of the season until November.
-Twins are a good freaking baseball team. The rotation is imperfect and the bullpen is suspect, but that team can hit. No wonder Gammons used to have so much wood for this lineup before he stopped hiding the Red Sox affinities. Fast at the top of the order, the best hitter in the league arguably third, boppers in declining order from 4-7, and a weak-hitting infielder at the end of the lineup. Welcome back to 1987! This team is a trade for a pitcher away...or a Liriano revival away...from being a very legitimate World Series contender.


Anonymous said...


I'm hoping that Hermida gets more outfield at bats (rotating him through all three spots) as well as more of the at bats as DH. At the very least, we know he won't be worse than what we've seen of David Ortiz (and I can't believe I just wrote that sentence about a guy who as recently as 2007 was finishing off a streak of five consecutive top-5 MVP finishes).

Also, I agree that the the Twins are a good team. But to me they seem like the Red Sox, only not as good as the Red Sox. The line-up they have is better in it's strong spots, but I don't know if it's as deep and their starting pitching--Carl Pavano's mini-Renaissance be damned--is not in the same league. But then again, they play in a weak division (any division without the Red Sox and Yankees is a weak division, by the way) so they'll probably be a playoff team.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Pat actually sent me a good SI.com article by Shaughnessy about how Ortiz just should not be an everyday player anymore. It's true. And the sooner the Red Sox realize that instead of being stubborn, the less it is going to be a burden on the club, preventing the club from winning baseball games.

I don't know if a Hermida/Lowell platoon is the answer with 34 coming off the bench, but the team has options so that they can have a very dynamic order.

I still think Drew should lead off, by the way.

TimC said...

I like the odds on a Liriano revival. Had a good spring, probably has recuperated as well as possible since his injury. And I agree with any POV that sends Drew to the bench.