Re: Facts Are Facts: It Was More About the Pitching than the Hitting...
posted at 10/9/2012 12:24 PM EDT
trotternixon is simply not credible on this subject and moonslav is.
Normally, usually, the Sox hitting has made the difference and the pitching has just been good enough. 2007 was an exception when the Sox pitchers had the best ERA in the AL despite pitching half their games in Fenway Park. And for the 2007 playoffs the Sox had Beckett at his best, Schilling, Lester, and Matsuzaka (when he was OK). 2004 was closer to the norm when the Sox had good enough pitching but far and away the best offense (total runs scored) in MLB. And Schilling at his best in the playoffs.
This year the Sox started out with horrendous pitching--starting and bullpen--which pretty much stayed bad the whole season albeit with interludes of semi-competence. Buchholz, who got better, was a disaster in April. Beckett, whose ERA was under 3 last year, stayed right around 5 or over this year, almost double 2011's ERA. Lester finished around 5 even though he was below 3.50 in 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008. Bard was a disaster. Cook was a disaster. Matsuzaka was worse than Cook. Doubront was a bright spot, but still finished with an ERA around 5. The bullpen definitely had some good moments, but also plenty of bad ones, especially early and late in the season. Neither Aceves nor Bailey turned out to be a reliable closer, etc.
When the hitting was good, it was pretty darn good, and the Sox led the AL in runs scored for basically the first four months, thru the end of July. This despite missing Ells and CC and Pedroia having the bad thumb, Youk struggling, AGon not getting dingers, etc. The hitting went off the cliff after Ortiz went on the DL and AGon went to LA.
In fact, I would argue, as important as getting a very good starter is, the Sox must get one really good bat to replace AGon, who still led the Sox in rbi's despite missing roughly the last 50 games. Loney/Gomez ain't that guy. Ross, ditto. Youk might be, but I think he is already past his prime. Bogaerts could play 1B or 3B (moving Middlebrooks), but no one can be sure either of those guys can hit at the .900 OPS level. Bogaerts hasn't even hit at AAA level yet.