Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bard News Bears

Yes, it's still April, and yes, this team will be in contention down the stretch. But some disturbing patterns have emerged early, and they're worth mentioning. The starting pitching, ex-Beckett and Schilling, is worrisome. On the days those guys don't pitch, we don't know what we're going to get. The bottom of the order is absolutely atrocious. Mikey Adams on WEEI had me chuckling last night with his mini-rant following the game, making note of the light-hitting (that's being kind) Alex Gonzalez watching several juicy fastballs go right down the pipe. "Who does he think he is, Manny Ramirez??!" asked Adams. "Hmmm, let me get the count to 0-2 and then I'll really focus." Exactly what I was thinking -- Gonzalez should simply swing on every single pitch. Josh Bard (we'll get to him in a minute) and Dustan Mohr are almost as useless with a bat in their hands. It's a problem, and that's not an overreaction. We've talked about the shaky bullpen - who'da thunk Foulke would be favored over Timlin at this point? And finally, the issue of the day: we cannot afford to watch Josh Bard learn how to catch Wakefield during the season. The guy has 10 passed balls in four games, and on several occasions - including a crucial spot last night - his inability to catch Wake's butterflies has directly led to a run. Maybe he should resort to using a net like our little monkey friend.

The Bard apologists this morning are saying that a) four games is too small a small sample size, b) the team can't score runs when Wake's pitching, and c) even the best men who've worn the tools of ignorance (including Varitek and Mirabelli) have had major problems catching the knuckler. All valid. But the point here again is that we can't let this guy practice during the regular frickin' season. He missed a couple of pitches last night that were at eye level, and unfortunately one of those came with a man on third and the Sox still in the game, trailing 3-1. It just takes the air out of any potential momentum. Something needs to be done before Wake faces the Yankees on Monday, and today's Globe has a report that the team signed a guy with a surfer's name for a reason. We'll see -- I hate to bury a young kid so early in the season, but this is serious bidness.

As you already know, the Sox lost to Cliff Lee and the Tribe last night, 7-1. Lee's an underrated stud. He hasn't given up more than three runs in any of his starts this year, and the Sox have difficulties hitting lefties (a topic for another day). We saw a flash of that Wily Mo potential as the big guy lashed a homer to straightaway center. The kid's bat speed is sick - it's just that he doesn't always connect.

Oh, and if you weren't grumpy enough -- Bronson Arroyo's line last night against the Nationals -- 8 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 k's. The corn-rowed one owns a 4-0 record, 2.34 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Ouch.

Josh Beckett vs. Paul Byrd tonight in the series finale.

I heard Bronson almost hit his 3rd HR of the season last night as well. It reached the warning track and was a few short feet from being a grand slam. Who knew that skinny, corn-row-wearing, NU coed chasing little bitch could hit and hit for power.

Do you get the feeling that if the Sox get down 3-4 runs - even early in the game - that they can not come back?
I hated the Bronson move then, I hate it more now... some guy on 'eei was floating a conspiracy that trading Arroyo had something to do with keeping Manny happy. Don't know the hook, but he said he had an inside 'source...'
I don't know about that - the offense is just slumping. When they get Coco back it helps the whole lineup.

They look like absolute dogshit tonight, Bobby... shitty defense, no offense... Beckett got shelled. Yeeeesh. Can't a guy sit down and enjoy a friggin' ballgame?
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