Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Words of Wisdom

My buddy Des sent me this gem from Monday's Boston Globe:
"The guy is going to be great for us," said Millar of Renteria, a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner. "He's a great teammate. He's been in the World Series. He's going to be OK. This is my Derek Lowe speech of 2003, Cowboy Up and get off of Renteria. Get on me because I said it. I'm not a good player, he is."
I've tried to temper my criticism of Renteria so far because he does seem like a good guy who's just having a rough go of it to start the season. I also have the experience of watching guys like Millar and Bellhorn on a daily basis who, if nothing else, teach you patience. And by patience I mean that if you're expecting these guys to have success on a regular basis (at least when compared to other players around the league) you're setting yourself up for some serious disappointment. Instead, all I want these guys to do is (a) make plays in the field (if you can't field a ground ball and you can't hit, then even I can piece together that you shouldn't be out there), and (b) don't hit into double plays. Anything other that this is gravy as far as I'm concerned. I've actually trained myself to expect the worst from Bellhorn and Millar offensively, and it actually makes things a little easier to take when the bottom third of the order is batting. Couple that with the fact that Bellhorn is actually making plays in the field, and I can now understand why Des took Bellhorn with his first overall pick in his fantasy draft.

Back to Renteria -- as Remy mentioned this weekend during Edgar's 1 for 13 showing against the Braves in Fenway, when you're struggling, there's nothing better than going on the road.
Renteria  H  BB  SO   BA  OBP
Total 40 12 24 .245 .292
Home 16 9 13 .239 .271
Road 24 3 7 .250 .314
And even though his numbers aren't markedly different, the fact that he's not the only Boston player getting booed in Toronto is probably more important at this point in the season. Luckily things went well for Renteria last night -- he was 2 for 4, scored 2 runs and made a couple of great plays in the field. Unluckily for the Red Sox, they brought in the Alan Embree in the ninth inning of a tie game and he promptly gave up a hit, a walk and a bomb to the 8, 9, and 1 hitters.

The question going into the game was whether David Wells could bounce back from an atrocious outing against the A's last week. Other than a rough 4th inning, he was pretty good. (With that new goatee he's sporting he looks like (a) Matt Clement in one of those funhouse mirrors, or (b) Matt Clement's fat older brother who doesn't have a job but spends most of his time working on the car that up on blocks in the front yard of their trailer.) The question at the end of the night was if Alan Embree will ever get anybody out again (or maybe it should be, will the real new Derek Lowe please stand up: Foulke or Embree?) -- followed closely by: why the hell does Tito continue to trot Embree out there?

The last question is more rhetorical than not primarily because as soon as I make what I think to be an astute observation, the opposite invariably happens. Last week I was wagering that Mueller would never again hit a ball out of the infield. He's 8 for 13 since with two bombs (one to straightaway centerfield last night).

I almost make a sport out of berating Millar's fielding ineptitude and last night he made several tough plays. The first one was an in-between hop to his right about 30 feet from the bag. He picked the ball cleanly, looked to throw to first only to see Honest David Wells firmly planted on the mound. On the replays they showed Wells give one of those half-hearted attempts to cover the bag -- you know, the same half-hearted attempt you give when one of your buddies drops something and you feign like you're about to pick it up knowing full well it's all for show. That was David Wells last night.

Despite the fact that Embree pulled an Embree, and Timlin pulled his first Embree of the season the inning before, there were some positives to come out of the game last night. Like I mentioned, Wells looked much better, and so did Edgar. Also, Manny hit a few BBs, and on a double early in the game, he actually scored David Ortiz from first base (well not quite; Ortiz was called out, but looking at the replay he may have snuck his hand in there before the tag). So the fact that the Red Sox are in second place with Manny hitting in the .240s is good news; bettered by the fact that Manny seems to be breaking out of his slump. I also mentioned Mueller seemed to be coming around. Of course he was nailed on the foot by a pitch during his last at-bat, so who knows how long he'll be out.