Red Sox and pitching patience


The Red Sox are facing the brunt of some off-season moves, or lack of that have placed their starting rotation in the public crosshairs of what were they thinking? Boston is in area code 617 and that, for some members of the rotation, would be an attractive earned run average. The liabilities have surfaced – at least in a very short sample – and the frenzy is now in full bloom for management to do something. The question is what?

The idea with the staff they have assembled is to keep the game close and then beat the bejabbers out of the opposing staff. The bats have made every attempt to match the inconsistency of the starting rotation and that is walking a baseball tightrope for potential disaster. The problem has been twofold with Boston in that some in the rotation have shown an inability to keep it close and others have given up leads quicker than I can devour a rum raisin ice-cream cone. Maybe in some instances both apply?

Pitchers are a fragile lot who are prone to mysterious and complicated interpretations of the game at hand. The psyche of a pitcher is well known with much sport being made of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. With John Farrell, a former pitcher, as manager who must be aware of each and every member of his rotation and staff. The old mental as well as physical is oft repeated with sport and especially with pitchers.

“Good arms do not necessarily come with stable minds. – Unknown”

The frustration is the burn out factor of those that have to come in for damage control. A spent bullpen is not what a good winning streak needs. That is why an eight inning effort of Joe Kelly tossing after a 19 inning game was so important. Trouble is those stellar performances have been limited.

What to do?

Treat pitchers like children and use patience. That is a difficult concept to Red Sox fans who will sell out a player no only game to game, but pitch to pitch. A time frame is important and knowing the baseball minds, there is a figure tossed around in meetings between the coaching staff and baseball operations. The “Give this guy ten starts (or seven) and then we make a move. And what moves could be made?

“The only thing that matters in baseball is that little bump in the middle of the field. – Earl Weaver

The names have been fluttered around ad nauseam since Jon Lester packed up and moved out. The Red Sox certainly have the chips in both talent and money. A quite reasonable and viable option.
The minors offer some hope. Several pitchers are stashed at Pawtucket that are checking out box scores daily to see if they just may get a call.

David Ortiz comes to the front of the patience discussion. A few seasons back the hounds of baseball were ready to yip and yap Papi out of town. I certainly remember joining in the chorus.

Then we have Dustin Pedroia. Or as some affectionately called him “PedroiAAA). How did that work out?

I look at this rotation and see pitchers that have a decent MLB resume. Both Rick Porcello and Wade Miley received the ultimate vote of confidence in huge contracts. So someone that makes observational and statistical assessments must have something of merit on both.

Then you have two enigmas in Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson. Both are pitching for substantial rewards. Both, like the previously mentioned, Kelly deserve patience – at least while we are still above .500. Then we can collectively panic.

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