Re: If Bobby gets Fired
posted at 9/3/2012 3:28 PM EDT
In response to expitch's comment:
Moon was right from the start about the pitching. So was I, for that matter.
Buchholz was coming off an injury -- to his back. For a pitcher, that's not a pinkie. IMO, the performance of Beckett and Lester in September should have been a red flag -- or at least a pink one. Lester was terrible. It's fine to say that he has ace potential, look at his record, and all that. But he has never really pitched like a #1 starter. Beckett was having a good year but couldn't finish the job when it was most needed. He said it had nothing to do with his ankle. He said, "I wasn't pitching good." He has not been consistently top drawer for the Sox. BV didn't want to Bard to start. That pitcher was completely miscast. Doubront hadn't showed that he could pitch well in any role. Morales wasn't even close to the starting chart -- and maybe should not be now. Great stuff but no consistent command. Better a soft-tossing lefty who drives batters nuts and gets them out when they try to pull the dead fish. Or when he gets them to chase the deuce, perfectly located. Then Cook, with his record!
When your two "aces" are coming off a bum month ( not one or two starts ) with all the chips on the table, and the third member of the so-called Big Three is coming off an injury, you better find a guy who can pitch up there at or near the top of the rotation. Or close to it. Closer than Doubront to say nothing of Bard. What is more, and very much to the point, as Moon, said repeatedly, it was risky, dangerously risky, to think that all three would remain healthy and effective for a season.
Yup, the pen was very effective for a long stretch. The manager did a terrific job with it.
But he wasn't given the rotation he needed. True, no one could have predicted that the starters would be as bad as they have been. But it wasn't hard to see that the team, this team, coming off September, needed a frontline guy, at the very least to cover for contingencies but mainly to get people out.
I'm not claiming that he could have compensated for all the injuries and sub-par performances in the first half. But he would have made a difference -- unless he funked it. And, yes, it would have made a big difference, injuries and all, if Beckett and Lester had pitched well. Among other things, a big thing, their early exits contributed heavily to BP burnout. When starters stink, repercussions follow. Many kinds.
The lousy pitching is biggest reason why this team is bad.
The FO needs to take a lap -- maybe 20 -- for that one.
After the Great Collapse, it should not have rolled the dice ( no pun intended ) with the rotation.
IMO, that was a major mistake in judgment. I thought that even before events confirmed it. But Moon gets most of the credit for being on top of it from the get-go.
Here's my problem with your analysis. You fall off the tracks immediately when you say Lester never has pitched like a No. 1. 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2008 and 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA certainly is worthy of No. 1 description. You also misrepresent their Septembers when you say they were coming off bad months, not just one or two starts. Let's start with Beckett. With him it certainly was just two starts. He started four times in September. His first start was 3.2 IP, 0 ER when he got hurt. When he came back, he went 6 IP, 2 ER (3.00 ERA) and won. He then pitched strong for the first six innings in his third start (1 or 2 runs allowed). So with him, it was the last eight innings of the season when he finally broke down (two IP, 4 runs to end his third start then the bad last start, although he pitched strong for the first five innings of his last start before blowing up. Regardless, with Beckett it was just the last two starts, not the entire month. With Lester, his month was a mixed bag but he was good more than he was bad. He had six starts and was good in three of them: 5 IP, 1 ER; 7 IP, 0 ER; 6 IP, 2 ER. There was nothing wrong with those starts. He was bad in two starts: 4 IP, 4 ER; 2.2 IP, 8 ER. Yes those were terrible. And he was mediocre in one start, 7 IP, 4 ER. It was decent enough. What nobody likes to notice is that the Sox scored more than three runs in just one of those games and scored one run twice. The Sox averaged better than five runs a game last year. If they scored the five runs in all six starts, he would have been 4-2 instead of 1-3 with 2 ND. In Lester's "horrible" September, the Sox lost three of his starts by scores of 4-2, 4-3 and 4-3. But no -- it was just Lester's horrible performances as the reason for the September collapse, nothing else. As for this year, yes it was reasonable to expect Buchholz to starts slow but it was also reasonable to expect him to get stronger, which he did. And as I pointed out, Lester was BAD in just two starts and was consistent the previous four years so it was also reasonable to expect him to win 15 games with an ERA in the mid-3s. As for Beckett, I didn't expect him to be as good as he was for the first 5 1/2 months last year, but I didn't expect him to be as bad as he was since he came off the DL. I expected him to be like he was before the DL stint when he was decent enough and his record would have been better with better run support. Beyond that, the Sox made the decision to go with young arms on the back end. Sure there were questions. I was never as high on Felix (still not) as others and also questioned whether Bard could handle it. At the same time, they both have live arms and you have to give guys the chance, otherwise why play them at all. And they went out and got depth and then like what always happens, they found an arm during the season (Morales). There's never guarantees with pitching but no one would ever predict that everything would go wrong like it did. I agree that the rotation is the the major reason, but no reasonable analysis would have predicted it to be as bad as it turned out.