Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes check in every Thursday or Friday with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
Why do the Red Sox stick with Kevin Millar's lack of production? Sure his average has risen, but not his production. They need to get more out of the first base position, particularly with him being a defensive liability wherever they put him. He does OK on the routine play but his fundamentals, like cut offs and hitting cut-offs is pretty bad. It is charitable to call him a dirt train on the bases, as well. His nick-name should be molasses!
Tim, these are clearly not the best of times for Millar. In fact, he is dangerously close to bottoming out. Entering Friday night's game against the Angels, Millar is hitting just .224 this month, with an appalling .258 on-base average and .259 slugging percentage. He's not even walking anymore, drawing just three walks this month. His struggles on the road are well-documented: Millar has 46 hits on the road, only 7 of which have been for extra bases, and no home runs. Baseball is a mental game, and Millar, it would seem, appears to have descended into that stage where you no longer can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It appears that it's reaching the point where Terry Francona may have no choice but to play John Olerud at first on an everyday basis - it's almost inconceivable that Millar will be in the lineup tonight against right-hander John Lackey.
Hi Gordon, When Foulke is (relatively) healthy, do you think the Red Sox would consider a "creative" mix of closers (Foulke, Schilling, and Timlin) depending on the situation? I'm very intentionally NOT using the horribly misnomered "closer by committee." I think this approach could potentially work, and the reason it failed the first time was that the team had neither the pitchers nor the manager to execute on such a plan. Unfortunately, I think the baby got thrown out with the bathwater on this one, and I'd like to see it tried again with Foulke and Schilling in the mix.
Andrew, in a perfect world, Schilling would go back to the rotation. I think everyone understands that. One of two things could preclude that from happening: Foulke comes back and is ineffective, or Schilling demonstrates an inability to start and be effective. Unfortunately for the Sox, one (or both) of those scenarios could play out. That would leave both men in the pen, Foulke quite possibly as a setup man for Schilling. Theo Epstein indicated Thursday in Anaheim that is the likely course when Foulke initially returns, to ease him back into games. I really believe the Sox would prefer to leave Timlin in a setup role.
Enjoy your coverage of the Red Sox very much. I had the opportunity to watch Saturday's game against Chicago and Monday's game against Detroit. In both cases, Terry Francona removed a seemingly effective reliever (Gonzalez and Timlin) for Remlinger and Bradford, who were ripped. In one game it worked out thanks to Schill, unfortunately it did not Monday. Any comments about Francona's ineffective use of the bullpen?
Todd, Canton, Ohio
Todd, thanks for the good word. The bullpen has been the weak link all season, and Francona is hard-pressed not to overuse Mike Timlin and Mike Myers, who have generally been the most effective pitchers the Sox have had in the pen. Remlinger, a fine pitcher for much of his career, appears to have reached the end. It was painful to watch last night, and I would expect the Sox to make a change. I think in general Francona has done a pretty good job of managing the pen, but a manager never looks worse than when his pen is ineffective.
What is your opinion on Roberto Petagine. He did very well in Japan and his stats are comparable to those of Hideki Matsui. How do you think he'll fare with Red Sox going forward?
Charyulu, I think the Sox have been pleasantly surprised by Petagine so far. He has 8 RBIs in 9 games, which is one fewer RBI than Kevin Millar has since the All-Star break. I think he'll get some time off the bench the rest of the way, but if you're asking if Petagine will be in the mix after this season, I'd have to say no.
Regarding your answer to the "three Jews the Red Sox fielded last week" question --
A: Steve, it certainly hasn't happened before in Sox history, but I can't say for certain whether it is without precedent in the big leagues.
On September 11, 1941, when Sid Gordon made his major league debut for the NY Giants, an unprecedented four Jewish players appeared in the Giants? lineup that day: Gordon and Morrie Arnovich in the outfield, Harry Feldman on the mound, and Harry Danning behind the plate.
Elli, Jerusalem, Israel
Thanks for the info. By the way, did the Giants win that day?
Has Nomar gotten through waivers? Wouldn't it make sense for a team like the White Sox to try to pry him across town instead of an albatross contract like Ken Griffey? Nomar also would seem to make the Astro and/or Florida lineup stronger.
Sriram, San Diego
Sriram, Nomar, according to the Hall of Famer, Peter Gammons, had not been placed on waivers, though it's possible it could still happen. For the Cubs to let Nomar go, they'd have to concede they're out of it, and they're not quite prepared to do that. Nomar's health issues would make him a risk, even for the short term, for a contender.
Not much has been made about Jose Cruz Jr.'s brief stay in Beantown. It seems odd the Red Sox management, arguably one of the best in baseball, would trade 2 moderate prospects (Bono & Perez were rated the 22nd and 27th best prospects in the organization, respectively, by Baseball America) for Cruz and then dump Cruz a week later for a 28 year old journeyman minor league infielder. There's obviously something more to this. What's the untold story?
Paul, Theo actually turned the deal to his financial advantage, raking in close to $1 million when all was said and done. The Sox do a real good job of rating their own prospects, and I don't think they were too concerned about losing the kids they gave up. It was worth it to them to see if Cruz could help, and he proved quickly he couldn't.
I know the free agent crop this off season, especially pitchers, is fairly thin, but other than re-signing Damon or stealing Matsui if we lose Damon -- are Huff and Konerko the big fish for Sox and don't we have the inside track on signing Burnett?
Don, South Portland, Maine
I think Burnett will definitely be targeted by the Sox, and re-signing Damon will be the other offseason priority. Huff is signed for next season and makes more financial sense than Konerko, although if the Sox don't re-sign Johnny, that money could certainly be redirected toward a guy like Konerko.