Lots of stuff has gone on recently. To touch on some of it, in no particular order:
After being cut loose by the Sox, John Smoltz signed with the Cardinals. Some people out there are trying to use the signing to compare Smoltz to Bret Favre. He looks like just another athlete who doesn’t know when to quit. I don’t see it like that. Obviously, Smoltz was awful in Boston. As a pitcher who might be on his way to the hall of Fame, he certainly wouldn’t want to end his career on that note. So, when the Cardinals call, why wouldn’t he play? He’s already in game shape. He had been planning on pitching, I assume, the full season anyway. Why wouldn’t he jump at the chance to try to salvage something? He can give it a while in the weaker NL, to see if he can get his numbers down. He might even get a chance to improve on his career playoff numbers. If not, can he do worse than he did in Boston? A stop in St Louis doesn’t look like it could possibly tarnish his reputation any more. As for the Cardinals? They get what the Red Sox hoped they would get. They get a proven pitcher who may help them, with little risk. How this move doesn’t make perfect sense, I don’t know.
Do you think that when Clay Buchholz heard CC Sabathia was pitching Sunday, he assumed he would be on the mound against him? For a third/fourth/fifth starter, he sure has seen a string of aces lately. What’s impressive is that he has completely held his own. Just having a 1-2 record against Sabathia-Verlander-Halladay would be ok. But, he’s actually pitched very well in all those game. Although, I’d still trade him for Halladay. Think the Sox could convince Toronto that they should take the winner for the loser?
Josh Beckett pitched the worst game he’s thrown in a long time Tuesday night. Coincidentally, Papelbon had a pretty lousy outing of his own. The reason being tossed around? Varitek wasn’t calling the game. Does that matter? I have no idea. I’ve asked before what exactly the line is between pitcher and catcher. Are we to assume that Beckett isn’t pitching, it’s Varitek catching? Does the fact that V-Mart caught the last two AL Cy Young Award winners mean anything? Does Varitek have scouting on opposing hitters that he’s not telling Martinez? Could that possibly be the reason? Maybe. Pap would have less reason to complain. I doubt that it’s the first time Martinez has caught him, and I’m sure many other have done so in the past. He was just off. Beckett? I don’t know. Is there a trust factor? If Beckett’s unsure about a call, does that affect his delivery? They always mention trust when a pitcher bounces a pitch with a guy on third. It’s always the trust in the catcher that allows the pitcher to throw the pitch he needs to throw. Does the same apply to a curveball? A fastball? Or is catcher trust a Jeter-type quality. It really applies to every player, but is only brought up to promote Jeter. Is trust only mentioned when there’s a “good” catcher behind the plate? Could it have affect Beckett to simply be looking at something different behind the plate? That’s possible. If he’s grown accustomed to seeing the same mitt and catcher’s gear every time he pitches, I could see it throwing him off a bit. Could he have just had an off night? Probably.
I don’t know about you, but if I have a big series coming up against the Yankees, I’m hoping I can get Penny and Tazawa on the mound. Nothing like tossing the number four and five (or six, seven, eight) guys when you need wins. Although, as has been said before, you can sum baseball up in one word. “You never know”
Sox need this series win.
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