Results tagged “Jed Lowrie” from Who Made You Mirabelli?
It's just about that time of year: the Yankees are playing well, the Red Sox are slumping, and the streets of Dorchester are lined with bodies from all of the fans heaving themselves from the tallest building they can find.
The Red Sox are in a free-fall, but this is a road that this team insists on going down almost every single year... and while it may feel like the sky is falling, this is nothing new under the sun.
In fact, this year's pitfalls are certainly better than the ones that Red Sox nation felt in 2006 - a year in which the BoSox missed the playoffs. This year... there is a safety net. So let's calm down a bit, shall we?
Earlier on in the year, the Red Sox went out for essentially every buy-low veteran on the market. Theo has learned well from the missteps in 2006, and gone after inexpensive depth. To have a guy like Josh Reddick who they can call up and send down whenever he's needed is beyond invaluable (note: Jed Lowrie would normally be deserving of some sort of mention in a paragraph such as this... but his crisp .074 since the All Star break is keeping him out of the running).
They even have pitching options, believe it or not. A few of those options aren't exactly that viable, but they're options, none the less. The wheels are, indeed, coming off of Brad Penny and John Smoltz and are now careening towards a crowd of horrified onlookers, but their problems (including, but not limited to, a combined 47 earned runs in 10 starts within the last month) are magnified by the situations the team has been in lately. Keep in mind that the 13-inning jaunt the other night burnt out the core of the Red Sox pitching staff beyond belief. After something like that, a shaky series has to be expected... it's just too bad that such a series had to be against the Yankees... It always has to be the Yankees.
Tampa Bay: Shields-Kazmir-Garza-Sonnanstine-Sheilds-Kazmir-Garza
It's hard to make a convincing argument that Tampa Bay has a rotation advantage, particularly with the recent form of Boston's burgeoning ace left hander Jon Lester. With Lester potentially getting the ball in both Games 3 and 7, Boston would seem to have him right in the clutch that he's been excelling at. Josh Beckett had his shakiest postseason outing ever in Boston's ALDS loss, but an extra day of rest -- as opposed to two starts in three weeks -- should have him a lot closer to being on point in this series. Daisuke Matsuzaka continue to be an enigma, wriggling out of jams throughout high pitch counts over just five innings. We still haven't seen him go deep in a postseason game. Could this be the series? And as for Wakefield ... he's Tim Wakefield. While WMYM has a shrine dedicated to him, he's utterly hit or miss at the best of times. He has, however, traditionally been dominant at the Trop, but he'll have to ply his pitches at chilly Fenway in Game 4 of this series.
As for the Rays, Shields has had rough outings against the Sox, Kazmir got drilled the last time Boston faced him in the Trop while Garza continues to seem like the scariest guy they throw out on the hill. Andy Sonnanstine was great closing out the White Sox. Great. Stay tuned. That Game 4 could look like a mismatch in the Rays' favor depending on how the series turns before it.
The bullpen, however, is another story. The Rays have a plethora of setup men without the closer they took and injury-riddled shot on in the offseason: Troy Percival. That hasn't slowed them, and it probably won't now, either. The Sox relievers looked much better in the ALDS than they did in much of the season, but there are still questions. Justin Masterson had one of his shakiest outings as a big leaguer to set the stage for Jed Lowrie's heroic walk-off. Then there's the fact that Mike Timlin earned the extra roster spot. We're longtime backers of Captain Camo, but he was almost a walking white surrender flag during the second half of this year. If he has to come in during clutch situations, watch out. The Rays teed off on him the last time he came in against Tampa. Of course, they did that against Jonathan Papelbon once, too, so you never know.
EDGE: Red Sox. The rotation should help make up for Tampa's bullpen buffer.
Tampa Bay: Iwamura-Upton-Pena-Longoria-Crawford-Floyd-Navarro-Gross-Bartlett
On paper, this is another mismatch. Unfortunately, that's paper that was drawn up over the bulk of the regular season, not a series of clutch matchups between the Red Sox and Rays and the two teams' subsequent ALDS wins. Jacoby Ellsbury seems to be waking up at just the right time for Boston, and if Ortiz can do more than he did in a miserable series against the Angels and if J.D. Drew can stay healthy, the Sox look plenty dangerous. If either of those factors don't come through ... or even don't come through the way Boston needs them to, the Jason Bay will have to be called on to hit at the blistering pace he put up against Anaheim.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, bats a bunch of guys who many would need scorecards for. That's before you look at monstrous hot streaks for B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria, two hitters sandwiched by Boston area-native and crushing power hitter Carlos Pena. The 'los does strike out plenty, but Longoria has to be considered one of the most terrifying up and coming hitters in the majors. Navarro is another whose contributions can't be minimized. The catcher had a bushel of huge hits against Boston this year, including the ball that cost Jonathan Papelbon in the game that forever turned the AL East tide.
PREDICTION: They say great pitching wins championships, and both these teams have the potential to have it. Sure, Tampa Bay's rotation is as young as the rest of its roster, but it's got plenty of heat and talent. That being said, betting against Josh Beckett (despite his ALDS numbers) and what seems like the ghost of Sandy Koufax embodied by Jon Lester is a hard thing to do. That's before you add in hopes for Matsuzaka and the fact that the Red Sox's two most important hitters -- Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia -- almost tossed out in 0-fer in the ALDS, and couldn't possibly be any worse. If Ortiz and Pedroia hit while Beckett improves and Lester keeps cruising, the Sox should win. It says here that will happen.
RED SOX IN SIX
disparate unexpected stars that have buoyed Boston's season. (AP)
special "celebration alert" beeper on his belt. (AP)