Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Morning After

Several instant messages peppered my computer screen when I woke up this morning:
"Their bullpen is despicable."
"I love Hinske!"
"Where are you?"

Okay, so that last one wasn't relevant, but the other three certainly were. Hinske was impressive in the first game. He's done very well against Wang and that's why the Sox started him.

As for the bullpen.... yes, it's been awful. That seems too nice. But in actuality, the reason the bullpen is so bad is because they've been way overused. The starting pitching is just not in there enough. They rank 7th in innings pitched by a starter (the Yankees are 10th!), at 711.1. Starters ERA ranks 11th, at 5.00, while the Yankees are at 5th at 4.61. Same story with the bullpen ERAs/ranks.

Mike Timlin is aging quickly. Take a look at his ERA and WHIP by month:
April: 1.93/1.71 (a little luck helped him keep his ERA that low while allowing that many baserunners.)
May: 0.90/0.80
June: 2.35/1.17
July: 5.56/1.41
August: 12.00/2.00
Not a good trend there. He has 2 losses and 2 blown saves in his last 10 appearances. A lot of people are blaming the fact that he pitched in the WBC this spring and he's 40 years old. I can't say I disagree. Here's another alarming statistic: Mike Timlin's highest appearance total happened last year, at the age of 39. His second highest total? The year before. The next highest? The year before that, which was tied with the year prior. So his 4 highest appearance totals for a season happened at ages 36, 37, 38, and 39, in reverse order. As his age increases, his workload does, too. Do you think this guy is tired? This year also marks his highest pitches/plate appearance in his career, at 3.82 compared with 3.42 last year. His K/BB are at 1.69 compared to 2.95 over each of the past two seasons. K/9 are at 4.24 compared to 6.60 each of the past two seasons. His BAA is actually down and OBP has stayed the same, but opposing batters are hitting for more power against him, with a .423 SLG vs. .386 last year and 3.74 in his career. His groundball to flyball ratio is below 1 for the first time in his career and his career average is over 2.

Craig Hansen is another problem. A 5.90 ERA isn't going to cut it. His ERA this month is 8.64 with a WHIP of nearly 2.00. To quote Shea Hillenbrand, the ship is sinking and it's sinking quickly.

On the bright side of things, Dustin Pedroia appears ready for the big leagues. Pedroia came into last night's game for Triple A Pawtucket batting .310 in 108 games, the sixth-highest average in the International League, and with an on-base percentage of .389 that ranks third in the IL. Pedroia, who has been batting in the No. 3 hole, also had 30 doubles for Pawtucket, which ranks third in the IL, and had struck out just 27 times in 413 at-bats. The Sox actually offered Mark Loretta to the Tigers for pitching help, which the Tigers declined. But Pedroia is your 2B of the future and I can't wait to see how that plays out.

I've added more Elias notes to my regular website.

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