Monday, June 23, 2008

Kill Time Until September

Sooooo, not surprisingly I'm having a tough time getting back into the swing of things as far as sports go. What do you really expect though you know? Sure it's been a week now, but the drop off from "NBA Finals" to "midseason, interleague baseball" is impossible to quantify. I mean the Celtics just took everybody on an exhilarating, two month ride of basketball which featured 26 games (or over 30%!!! of a regular season schedule).

It's not just the quantity either. In that time we saw two Game 7's, three Game 5's where the loser would be pushed to the brink, and six NBA Finals games to boot. I mean come on! Even if the Phillies and the Cardinals are two marquis NL teams, how am I supposed to get even remotely amped for those series and games? And now the D-Backs are in Boston and leading the NL West, but can I really get excited for a Red Sox/D-Backs game in June? Um no. Right now I need a steady diet of AL play to get my juices flowing for the upcoming pennant race because while interleague play may be a nice novelty, it's not going to fill my competitive Jones like a series with the Yankees, or Indians, or even Rays.

It's funny though because I remember writing after the Patriots demise in February about how there would be plenty of good things to distract yourself with sportswise until some salvation could come with the NBA playoffs. Some of those things were Spring Training, some huge west coast and Texas games the Celtics had coming up, the NCAA Tournament, fantasy baseball, and opening day. While the regular season basketball games were a matter of taste and timing so to speak, there was no denying that the other three events were landmark events of spring and are every year for that matter.

Despite all this, I'm going to rattle off some ideas on how to pass these next 2.5 months until football starts with the MLB playoffs right around the corner.

1) Craig Hansen: Good or Bad?

Did you see him in the 13 inning game on Sunday? My lord, he looked ridiculous. Can he find some consistency?

2) Aaron Miles: Red Sox Killer and Next Lou Merloni?

Shameless, semi-plug, a friend of a friend is a sports agent and Miles is one of his clients. Last summer I was in Philly during a Phillies/Cardinals series and he met up with the crew I was out with at the bar. (Chase Utley and Pat Burrell were there that night too, but not with us.) Anyway, he seemed like a pretty good guy and because of that I've always pulled for him. Therefore his destroying of the Sox over the weekend really was not all bad for me.

3) The Olympics

HA! I could honestly care less.

4) Golf


5) Young Red Sox Pitchers

This is fascinating to me. Will Clay Bucholz come back in July or August with "it" figured out and turn into the great pitcher it has looked like he can become at times? What about Jon Lester? Will he continue to be a quality start machine? Is Papelbon a LOT more vulnerable this year than in year's past or is it just me? Will Justin Masterson continue to get starts and produce? Will Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen find consistency and be vital bullpen contributors through October? Anything else?

6) For What It's Worth: Jonathan Papelbon

Right now his WHIP, ERA, and BAA are all higher than they've been the past two seasons. Meanwhile, his K ratios (:BB and per 9) are both outstanding. His K:BB is 8.6, far better than his previously outstanding 5.6 in 2007 and 5.7 in 2006 and his K/9 while lower than last year's 13.0 is still incredible - 11.6 - and higher than 2006's 9.9.

So what is the verdict? I say he'll be fine. He's still striking out a bunch of hitters and is not walking anybody which is a pretty good recipe for great success. It's not like he's been stinking up the joint lately, it's just that he has seemed a lot more mortal this year.

7) For What It's Worth: Josh Beckett

Beckett has been a lot more up and down this year than last. But guess what? If you look at the peripheral stats - not just ERA and W/L - he's performing almost the same. Yes his ERA is 3.87 now (prior to this 6/23 start) compared to last year's 3.27, but his WHIP and BAA are almost identical at 1.13 and .243 this year versus 1.14 and .245 last year. As for his K ratios, his K/9 is at 9.3 this year as opposed to 8.7 last year and his K:BB is at 5.24 as opposed to last year's 4.85. So, here like Papelbon I think it is safe to say that Beckett has not lost it and will not revert back to 2006 form. Again, striking out lots of hitters while walking few is a great way to be successful.

And for the record his stats in 2006 were as follows:

5.01 ERA
1.29 WHIP
.245 BAA
6.95 K/9
2.14 K:BB

See. Much better now.

8) For What It's Worth: Dice-K

HA!! I can't even begin to try. Once he stops walking people and starts consistently attacking batters, maybe I'll hop on his bandwagon.

That is all for now.

No comments: