As the Red Sox take the field against the Orioles tonight, they do so with their 69th unique lineup in their 80th game of the season. Without further ado, I bring you the July 2nd, 2010 edition of the All Currently-On-The-DL Boston Red Sox. As a side note, I will explain what WAR means after the roster. Also, I will dip into the minor leagues when necessary to fill the gaps (there aren’t many).
L since 7/1/10
Dear Theo Epstein,
son is one who is close to Major League ready. Entering 2009 he was rated as the 17th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before turning in a stinker of a year for AA Portland. He has shown some signs of improvement this year, but if he ever returns to his .934 OPS of 2008, then this is a steal for you, Kansas City.
Before tonight’s 2-0 victory over Toronto, check out the last time the Red Sox won by more than 1 run:
That’s right, not since April 14th, 2 weeks ago. The BoSox may have gotten back to .500 with tonight’s win, which is always good to see, but the fact of the matter is they still have a lot of work left to do if they want to contend this season. I am encouraged by the way Clay Buchholz has been pitching and by Jon Lester‘s last two starts. If John Lackey and Josh Beckett can pick it up, then the rotation will be in good shape even if #5 remains a mystery with Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Don’t look now, but Lester hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13.1 innings.
One of the more interesting and surprising bright spots for the Sox thus far has been Darnell McDonald. Carrying a .286 average and 2 home runs through just 25 plate appearances into tonight’s contest, many fans are wondering where the heck this guy came from. That’s where I come in.
McDonald is 31 years old and in his fourth major league season. He made his major league debut back in 2004 at the tender age of 25 with the Baltimore Orioles, who selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 1997 amateur draft. Since then he’s been all over the majors and the minors, logging just 147 big league at-bats coming into this season. During that time he posted a below average slash line of .231/.276/.333.
So where is this new found success coming from? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can tell you one thing. He’s not the young prospect that some interpret him as, and for this reason he doesn’t have a legitimate chance of staying with the team long term. He may be a fan favorite already, but something’s gotta give when both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury (remember them?) return from the DL. The team can’t afford to carry more than four outfielders at a time, and there’s just no way that McDonald can play himself ahead of Ellsbury, Cameron, J.D. Drew, or Jeremy Hermida. Thanks for the memories DMac, but I’m afraid your time is almost up.
One part of the game that has always fascinated me is how a player’s speed can affect his value. If someone can routinely steal second after a single, isn’t that just as good as having a big bat who hits doubles more often? One stat that I like to look at to isolate these types of players is to see which guys finish the season with more steals than RBI. Of those with enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, 3 guys accomplished this in 2009: Nyjer Morgan, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Michael Bourn. Bourn had by far the largest discrepancy with 61 steals and just 35 RBI. He and Ellsbury both accomplished the feat in 2008 as well, in addition to Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, and Willy Taveras.
Okay, now hear me out on this one. You’ve got Clay Buchholz on the mound. Through 7 innings he is throwing a one-hit shutout. The next logical step to an ten-year old would be to leave him in the game because he is pitching so well. I apologize for wanting to have a manager with just a little more insight than an ten-year old. Buchholz was over 90 pitches entering the 8th inning. He’s just a kid and at the end of last year the Sox even curbed his use in order to save his arm the wear and tear. But now, Francona ignores his bullpen and pushes his luck with Clay, in turn costing us the game. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that it was worth the risk considering the poor performance and lack of rest/health of the bullpen recently. That is still no excuse to stretch out the starting pitcher longer than is appropriate. It’s not fair to Buchholz, it’s not fair to Okajima (who should’ve got the ball), it’s not fair to the fans. We’ve won 2 World Championships under Francona. For that he deserves a medal. Maybe two. But I have hated him as a manager ever since his arrival in Boston and it is decisions like the one he made tonight that add fuel to that fire. Accuse me of Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but I thought it was quite obvious that Clay was done for the day. It sickens me that Francona just signed a four year contract extension. Stop chewing your damn tobacco for half a second and pay attention to the game.
On a happier note, Jacoby Ellsbury has been making a pretty strong case for himself being the centerfielder of the future. With two more hits tonight, he’s at .296. How long before Coco Crisp gets traded? His stock may be at a peak right now as he too is off to a hot start hitting .333. Then again, if we traded Crisp then Francona wouldn’t be able to anger all of Red Sox Nation by benching Ellsbury. And we all know how much he likes to do that.
What a frustrating loss today. Elite prospect Justin Masterson is rushed up from AA to make an emergency start and goes above and beyond expectations. 6 innings of 2 hit ball – you can’t ask for more than that. He leaves the game with the lead and then just like that the bullpen gives it all back. Neither Lopez nor Delcarmen could record an out, each allowing 2 earned runs. Maybe Delcarmen hadn’t fully recovered from the flu.
In any event, there were some bright spots. Ortiz’s average continues to rise as he is now at .189 after hitting his 4th HR and picking up RBI number 19 and 20. Crisp had a great game, going 2-4 with 2 doubles, a run scored, 2 RBI, and 2 stolen bases, although he did make his first error of the year. It was good to see Youkilis back, but Varitek was still missing and Ellsbury got the start in right over Drew. Word is Lowell will be back tomorrow, which is great news for the club but could mean a demotion for Jed Lowrie, who has been outstanding so far while playing second, third, and shortstop.
From a superstitious stand point, there wasn’t too much I could do about this one. I was starting a new streak and therefore a new tie, I simply picked the wrong one. Also, I was in school during the game so I couldn’t even watch it. I’ll try a different one tomorrow and hopefully we can get back on track in Tampa.