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Smoke

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 12, 2009 06:12 PM

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There were some pitchers I couldn't bring myself to include. Two, to be precise: Heathcliff Slocumb threw serious smoke during his one-plus season as the Sox closer (1996-97). But the problem was this: He had absolutely no idea where said smoke was going, walking 89 batters in 130 innings during his time with the Sox. A high walk rate for a closer equals gasoline on the fire. Yep, I'd say that pretty much describes the Slocumb Experience. The best thing he ever did for the Sox is get traded. As for the other name on this list, I tend to begin rapid-fire cursing whenever I hear the name Rudy Seanez. He allegedly had a blistering fastball, which is weird, since I can't recall him ever recording a single #($%*@*@((($#(((()#))*(***@((@(((( out during his twoflame-broiled stints with the Red Sox. (See, I warned you.)

Hmmmm. Are we underrating Manny Delcarmen's talent? Yeah, we're still not sure we can trust him in the big moments. But Jonathan Papelbon has always insisted Delcarmen has the best stuff on the staff, and not even his detractors would deny that he can bring serious heat. He averages nearly a strikeout per inning in his career (8.3 per nine), he's just 28, and he's off to a fantastic start this season. While he's never going to be the man with the Sox -- Bard appears to be the closer-in-waiting -- there are dozens of teams that could use someone just like him.

I'm pretty sure Hideo Nomo recorded all of his outs "by way of the K," as the saying goes: While he left us with one lasting highlight -- the Red Sox first no-hitter since the '60s -- Nomo was the picture of mediocrity (13-10, 4.50 ERA) during his one season with the Sox, 2001. (It's been rumored Nomo knew more English than he let on. He probably regretted ever learning the language when he was marooned with that repulsive crew.) The one thing Nomo did do remarkably well, however, is compile strikeouts -- he whiffed 220 in 198 innings, for a league-best K-rate of 10 per nine innings.

The best arm didn't belong to a pitcher: Finally, I still say the best fastball I've ever seen by a Red Sox was when Dwight Evans would field a ball near the foul line and turn and unleash a bullet to second base. Had to be 110 m.p.h. Maybe 120.

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As for today's Completely Random Hockey Card:

Just an offering of good karma for Game 6.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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