Thursday, July 2, 2009

What goes around…

It was great to see that the Sox still had the needed fire yesterday. After blowing htat huge lead on Tuesday, and trailing big on Thursday, it would have been easy to give up. It would have been easy to just lament over blowing the series, and limping out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The Sox didn’t do that though. Like a good team should, they kept plugging along and ended up stealing the series back. That’s a pretty good sign.

I know that most stats involving relievers are laughable. Saves aren’t saves anymore. ERAs get held in check by pitching less. But, nothing is as funny to me as the hold Saito got in Tuesday’s game. He got a hold…and a loss. I wonder which one he’ll bring up during his next contract negotiations. Bill James needs to come up with a couple meaningful stats for relievers, and fast.

Lost in the craziness of the last couple games is the gem pitched by Jon Lester on Monday. He’s starting to get a hold of a few key factors to good pitching. He’s starting to get a lot more consistent with his outings. After a few awful starts to begin the season, he’s clamped down and strung together a run of solid performances. I’m not wondering what I’m going to get out of him anymore. He’s also cutting down on his walks. I’m sure the two go hand in hand. When he’s not walking guys, he’s not getting in so much trouble, and he’s going deeper into games. He’s becoming a strikeout pitcher too, which is nice. Nothing gets you out if a jam better than a quick K. While I’m not quite ready to say that I’m glad he wasn’t traded for Santana, he’s great to have in the rotation.

It’s also great to have John Smoltz in the rotation. His great performance was also lost in the rain and collapse Tuesday. If he’s going to be pitching like that the rest of the way, the Beckett-Lester-Smoltz combo could be fun in a division series.

Since the bullpen came back less than 24 hours after the collapse, I’m willing to chalk it up to the rain delay. I can imagine a bullpen with an 8 run lead, sitting through an hour-long rain delay. I’d have been amazed if they didn’t mentally check out at that point.

A nice homestand is on the way leading up to the break. I don’t think 7-3 is an unreasonable expectation.

With all the injuries, and below average performances, I can take being up 2.5 going into the break. A little more would be even better though. The Yankees and Rays are playing about as well as they can right now, and the Sox have a lot of scrubs filtering through. Keeping their head above water is a great benchmark.

Does Seattle have an advantage playing in wet weather?

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