Re: 15 games over
posted at 6/29/2013 7:56 AM EDT
crimsonandclover softlaw is right about needing a good righty bat and the overall team weakness against lefties--see moonslav's stats over on his thread. Ironically, Napoli is having a pretty good season so far but is better against righties than lefties. In the first two games against Toronto the Sox beat up righty starters then went quiet against lefty relievers.
That said, I have far less confidence than softy about trading for that righty bat this year and think the Sox already have two at Pawtucket--Bogaerts and Middlebrooks--who might eventually the solve the problem. Why make bold trades when your team is leading the very tough AL East by 3.5 games?
Meanwhile, it's worth nothing that Detroit has both items softlaw wants for the Sox--a terrific righty bat, right now the best in MLB and paired with a very good lefty bat (Fielder), and a superstud starter in Verlander. But, despite being in a very weak division--only Cleveland is at .500 or better--the Tigers are well behind the Sox in the AL standings. Yes, Detroit very recently took 3 of 4 from the Sox, but the Sox could very easily have taken 3 of the same 4 games but for Bailey in game 1 and that rotten call on Nava's catch in game 4. Moreover, the Sox to date have played a much tougher schedule--more games overall and against better teams--than the Tigers.
If Buchholz can get healthy and return to his 2013 form, you gotta like this rotation of Buchholz, Lackey, Lester, Doubront, and Dempster with Webster and Aceves in the wings. When he has been healthy this year, Buchholz has been both an innings eater, averaging 7 innings per start, and a stopper with 9 wins, no losses, and an ERA of 1.7.
I agree the playoffs are different because just one or two really good starters can make a difference, but that's way down the road, plus Buchholz and Lackey/Lester might fill that bill.
Job one is getting into the playoffs, preferably as the AL East champ. And right now the Sox are the team to beat despite not having Cabrera or Verlander or Pujols or Lee or Upton or whoever.
This year, 2013, is the year of addition by subtraction--dumping three stars to the Dodgers and going with lesser folk--and team chemistry. That's right, the Sox now have Napoli, an ex-catcher, in for AGon, a superb hitter and fielder, Nava, a late bloomer, in for Crawford the $20M a year leftfielder who was great at Tampa, and Dempster, the middle of the rotation guy, for the estimable Beckett, who in fact was a key factor in the 2007 season and playoffs and WS win (also the 2003 season for the Marlins). Fortunately, Beckett declared Francona and Epstein to be excommunicated and was promptly executed by Cherington. The Sox front office honchos know their history.