One of the hardest things to do in baseball is watch games in September and properly evaluate a player.
Dustin Pedroia got called up late in the 2006 season and hit .191. Shane Spencer was a late-season call-up by the Yankees in 1998 and hit .373 with 10 home runs.
Pedroia went on to become an MVP. Spencer turned out to be just another guy.
So while it was fun to watch Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick go 6 for 14 with three runs scored and two RBIs in an 11-5 thrashing of the Rays, it’s probably not wise to get too excited about it.
I received four Twitter messages and several e-mails tonight asking whether I could envision Kalish and Reddick in the outfield next season. But that trio could just as easily go 0 for 14 on Friday night in Oakland.
Theo Epstein and I talked about this before the game today and he pointed out and none of those guys are finished developing as players. “The idea isn’t for them to just get to the big leagues,” he said. “We want them to be good, productive players. They all could need more time in the minors.”
For now, through, watching the kids is one of the best part of watching the Red Sox. Terry Francona has to weave his way through playing prospects, keeping his veterans happy and fielding a representative lineup, particularly against contending teams. He managed to do all three of those things tonight.
A few other notes to send you off into the night:
• 44-year-old Tim Wakefield is the oldest pitcher to ever win a game for the Sox, surpassing Dennis Eckersley. Wakefield also made himself $500,000 by getting past 130 innings. That elevated his 2011 salary from $1.5 million to $2 million.
• Adrian Beltre now has 1,001 career RBIs. “When I started, I had no goals. I just wanted to be in the big leagues,” Beltre said. “Getting to that milestone for me is important. I’m proud of it.”
I considered patting Beltre on the head but I was worried he’d break off my arm and throw it across the room.
• Joe Maddon made a pitching change with the score 11-5 in the bottom of the 8th with two outs, nobody on and Bill Hall coming up. MLB really needs to figure out a way to make September baseball more like the rest of the season.
• Marco Scutaro has 43 extra-base hits. Derek Jeter has 39.
• Victor Martinez is 50 of 121 (.413) against lefties this season. He also hit .405 (15 of 37) against the Rays this season.
Busy day for me tomorrow, lots of writing and travel. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch you from Oakland.