Holy Carp and Set-Up Men Off the Hook Again

mike carp holy carp

Wow, Mike Carp, just WOW! Instead of “Holy Mackerel,” the people of Boston should say “Holy CARP!” from here on out. Who knew he had it in him?

Last Wednesday was a perfect example of the Red Sox down in runs, then pulling themselves up by their offensive bootstraps to earn the win. The comparisons to the 2004 team, though hackneyed at this point, are seemingly legitimate. After all, when was the last time we saw play like this by our beloved team? Ok, maybe it was a few games ago. I’ll give you that one.

God love Ryan Dempster for consistently earning “no decisions” during his starts in the last month. He must have a horseshoe stashed somewhere on his person. The offense has rallied back for him on a number of those no decision games. I am sure his fellow starting pitchers fume over his luck.

The real problem, which put the Sox into this situation, is the lack of set-up men in the bullpen. The similarities between the middle men on the defensive side and the middle of the lineup on the offensive side are uncanny. There is a dip in performance on both sides. Defensively, what is there to do, but determine through trial and error what the best mixture of pitchers will precede closer Koji Uehara? John Farrell’s calculated changes work for this team. Perhaps changes can help with pitching.

One other question remains with regard to the offense: must we rely on what seems to be a team of clutch hitters to get us through the American League Division Series? It seems the answer is “Yes.” These guys have a dramatic flair. Games are not over till them over; thus is the fight, grit, and stick-to-itiveness of this Red Sox team.

Was Jake Peavy Worth It?

jake peavy

Courtesy overthemonster.com

I realize it truly remains to be seen, but I will ask the question now: was the trade for Jake Peavy worth it? His last appearance left many fans wondering if it was a good move. Sources said that he had a proven track record of not performing on the road. If the Red Sox knew that, why did we pick him? It isn’t until Peavy has a bad start that we hear the negative. Does that mean he will only be great at home? That won’t get us to the post season with only 20 home games left. He’s scary because he doesn’t have the control we need and he has the potential to be an emotional loose cannon. I like the energy, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

We gave away a top prospect in Jose Iglesias for an okay pitcher. Yet, again we grow great talent only to give it away and see it flourish with another team. I said the numbers didn’t add up when the trade took place. He’s meh. Now where does that leave us? In a lot of trouble is where. We have a limping John Lackey, which is unfortunate because he was a sure thing. John Lester right now seems to be pitching all over the place except for inside the strike zone. Felix is okay. And Dempter, is well, Dempster. So where is the added value in Peavy?

This poor pitching paints the Red Sox offense into a corner. They must produce in a big way, early and often. We cannot have tight games like we did with the Royals. Our schedule from here on out is not an easy one. While I am confident John Farrell will figure something out, the truth of the matter is he can only run the ball so far. The players must perform. And Peavy, that means you!

Red Sox Starting Pitchers We Got, Offense, Closer Needed

red sox starting pitchers

Stop over swinging! Courtesy of bostonglobe.com

The Red Sox starting pitchers are in decent shape, what needs work is the offense. I cannot tell you how many times I see some of our top sluggers swing at pitches that are clearly balls. Papi, Pedroia, and sometimes Napoli… I am looking at you! If you have to nearly throw your back out reaching across the plate to hit the ball, it is probably not worth swinging at to begin with. This type of wild swinging takes place later in games, and smacks of desperation. The Red Sox offense needs to hit early and often, so the team can get into a rhythm of good pitch selection and good contact with the ball.

Now that I have single-handedly solved the offense problem, ::slyly blows on knuckles and brushes them on shirt::, let’s turn to another weakness— the Bullpen. The closer, or closers, have not been strong enough, which is why I continue to advocate that the Sox trade, or pick up, a closer. Andrew, “The Yeti” (as I like to call him) Miller is down with a twisted ankle.  Koji Uehara can sometimes get it done, other times, not so much. The same seems true for Bailey, Wilson, Aceves, and whomever we bring up from Pawtucket this week. Who is the guy to close out our games? Have we tried Steven Wright, and if so, why not? Wright was named International Pitcher of the Week. I think we should bring Wright up to the bullpen, to mix things up in the later innings. Other sources feel Rubby De La Rosa would be a good person for that bullpen position, but I just think he is more of the same. The other teams are expecting that kind of pitching move. The last thing the Sox should want to be right now is predictable. Let’s keep everyone guessing.

Yes, there has been a lot of movement in that position, just no curveballs (pun very much intended!)

Red Sox’s Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes Shine

Red Sox's Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes

Courtesy of nashuatelegram.com

It takes a big woman to admit that she is wrong. And I was.

I was terribly wrong about the Red Sox’s Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes. Others felt the same way, which made me more confident that I was right about these two guys. Before the season even started no one was hot on them. I had a colleague say, “Who’s going to play left, Jonny Gomes, or Mike Carp?” with a sneer on his face. The facts were hard to ignore, too.   Batting averages were well, average. The performance on the field ran hot and cold. And do we even need to get into Gomes’ weird red beard that screams Yosemite Sam? Carp and Gomes were best described as one step from greatness. Now, they are great, especially in a pinch.

In the last few games, specifically Wednesday, July 3rd’s game, Gomes and Carp were afire. Carp at first base. Initially I thought, “Oh no.” He made some plays, though. He played a pretty solid first base making a catch right in front of the dugout. He continued to play strong defense at first on Wednesday, keeping players from advancing. Carp can do the work there while Mike Napoli gets the rest days he may need. No one should be whining about Nap getting some rest days, since that was on the table at the very beginning of the season. Please, shut up about it. Mike Napoli is an outstanding player, but we all know the truth about his hip situation, so let’s not try and rewrite history, whining and moaning about his not being on the bag every night. This is another case of selective amnesia in Boston. It must be the heat.

red sox's mike carp and jonny gomes

Courtesy of aattp.org

But Gomes, Yosemite Gomes, you made the game Wednesday night with both guns blazing. Staring down the barrel of a 2-2 count, you swung and got the fireworks started on Independence Day Eve over the Green Monster. On the Fourth of July, he continued to produce in the seventh inning and raised his batting average to the mid .300s.  Defensively, he has proven himself strong in left field. He made a solid catch in the 3rd inning displaying his reliability.

My colleague’s comment in April snuffed out with one swing of the bat.

“That is a walk off home run for Jonny Gomes.” There is a sentence no one ever thought they would here Don Orsillo say at the beginning of the season.

We were wrong about you.

Yosemite prove yourself right every night, as we approach the All-Star break. I know I’ve never been happier to be wrong.