Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pitching Like It’s 1999

In the 1999 Playoffs, the Red Sox had four pitchers make starts. Pedro, Ramon Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, and Kent Mercker. That was the playoff rotation for a team that lost the ALCS in five games, after winning 94 games in the regular season. In 2004, the pitchers who made playoff starts for the Red Sox are: Pedro, Derek Lowe, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, and Bronson Arroyo. This was a team that won the World Series after winning 98 games in the regular season. What’s my point? Suddenly a rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Andrew Miller, and Alfredo Aceves doesn’t sound too crazy.

It seems even less crazy when you remember that this rotation will be matched to a line-up that led the major leagues in runs scored last year. This same line-up is back this season. Actually, the same line-up without JD Drew and the rest of the platoon that made up the worst statistical right fielder you can imagine. So, how can I not be excited about this rotation?

Is it better to have five shutdown aces? Sure. But, if you have five of those, chances are you don’t have enough money to score more runs than anyone else. It’s a give and take. It’s about the relationship between both sides of the equation. It seems to me that the Sox have the pitching that has worked in the past, and an offence that has worked in the past. I like it. I don’t know how I can expect anything less than 95 wins and a playoff spot from this rotation.

How can I not be excited about that?

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