After a third straight subpar outing, a 7-5 loss to the Tigers in which he gave up six runs over 4 2/3 innings, the obvious question is “What’s wrong with Aaron Cook?” The equally obvious answer is absolutely nothing.
True, it took Detroit five innings to get to Cook; they got five runs in the fifth and chased him from the hill, making Boston’s late inning comeback that fell short all the more arduous. What is most concerning is a three game stats line that looks like an ugly yet predictable pattern: 15 innings, 21 hits, 17 runs, six homers and one strikeout.
If nothing else, baseball teaches us to look at the numbers and discern the patterns. Cook has such a pattern. Without digging in too deep it’s clear that Boston has acquired another struggling retread who’s best years appear to be behind him.
On the way up with the Rockies Cook’s ascent was cut short in 2004 by blood clots in his shoulder that broke free and lodged dangerously close to his lungs. He returned strong in 2005, going 7-2 and winning the Tony Conigliaro Award as comeback player of the year.
After a barely OK 2006 (9-15) and a .500 2007 Cook put together back-to-back solid seasons in 2009 (16-9) and 2010 (11-6) only to be plagued by knee and shoulder problems. The shoulder would require surgery. By 2011 the Rockies had seen enough. Cook had been With them for almost 10 years and had essentially been a .500 pitcher (.514 lifetime with Colorado). Enter the Red Sox.
Cook has become yet another in a long line of scrap heap reclamation projects that honestly is not working out. He’s been nicked up, had a few decent outings but is 2-5 with the Sox, a .286 winning percentage and 5.24 ERA.
At some point management will have took in the mirror and realize that of the 15 pitchers currently on Boston’s active roster, just two of them – Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz – are home grown. Many acquisitions are journeymen clearly on the downside of their effectiveness. Boston’s most effective pitcher in years currently closes for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Cook will most likely rebound for a bit and end up with about a .500 record. Boston is currently getting just what history and the numbers tell us.