Friday, September 30, 2005

A Loser Picking the Winners, Week 4

As indifferent as this Red Sox team seemed during the middle two games of the Blue Jays series, they were more reminiscent of the 2004 post-season team in the 8th and 9th innings last night. Between Manny being Manny, and Papi being Papi there was hardly any time to notice that the starting pitching is still pretty craptastic. Whatever. They somehow managed to beat a Toronto team that has made a nasty habit of who's-your-daddying Boston all season long. Well, not this time. Nope, Greg Zaun, you and your golden locks won't pull any late-inning heroics in this one -- back to mediocrity for you.

Speaking of mediocrity is a painful reminder of the Sox starting pitching. I like Matt Clement -- he seems like a solid dude, but he's all over the place when it comes to consistency. Getting hit in the head sometimes has that effect, I hear. Still, it doesn't change the fact that neither he nor Arroyo can get people out on a regular basis for five innings, and that's a problem (don't even get me starting on Schilling). But, like most things that seem untenable, I think I have a solution. The last time I offered some keen insights, it was regarding the best way to ensure a string of Red Sox victories and I think it went something like this: "Damon, you and Renteria get hit by pitches, and let Papi hit a dong." Yep, I know, ingenious. Well, wait until you hear my latest masterpiece: Boston should go to a three man rotation ... for every game. Start Wells in the early innings, bring in Wakefield for the middle innings, and close with Papelbon. That's it -- Occam's Razor in full effect.

And before you dismiss me as insane, let me ask you, did you see Papelbon coming off the field after the 8th last night? The guy looked like he just ate a plateful of nails. When you see Arroyo stumble off the mound, you get the distinct impression he's either drunk, high, or both. And that Greg Zaun wig certainly doesn't help him seem tough. Can you see Papelbon out there in a Nicholas Bradford wig? Me either. The point is that Papelbon doesn't have time to be distracted by important things like playing a guitar with Peter Gammons, or getting corn rows. Instead he seems to be focused on getting people out. I know, novel idea.

Another reason to go to the three man rotation is this. When I first read it I had to check the date to make sure today wasn't April 1. It's not. So let me get this straight, the Sox signed Mike Remlinger earlier this season, let him go, and then traded two prospects for a crappier version of Remlinger in the form of Mike Stanton? Just checking. Look, I can say with a straight face that I'd never heard of the two guys Theo gave up to acquire Stanton, but I after seeing Stanton blow for what seems like the past decade, I don't need to. Is Mike Myers that bad that Boston felt the need to go out and get Stanton? I usually don't question personnel moves primarily because Theo's done a great job (of course I question why Francona pencils Millar's name in the lineup virtually every night, but you knew that already), but this defies logic. I just hope a situation doesn't arise that requires Stanton to get a big out. I've got two words for you: Ramiro Mendoza.

Update: OK, I guess this makes things a little better. The Sox were actually going to release righthanders Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta, the two guys they traded for Stanton. Still, I think if Stanton and Embree were the starting pitchers in tonight's game, the regular season might go on indefinitely because I'm not sure either of these guys could get out of the first inning.

OK, I had every intention of talking about the Steelers until the Sox pulled out the 9th inning victory last night. Instead of just wasting space here, and raising the ire of "All Red Sox, All the Time" Des for not mentioning Boston's win, I'll save my thoughts until next week. In the meantime, let me say that the Tribune-Review actually had two good articles this week and no, neither of them were written by Joe Bendel. Mike Prisuta's piece on Tom Brady was solid, and Joe Starkey actually explains quite well why James Harrison won't have any problem stepping in for Clark Haggans. Was that so hard?

I took some baby steps towards respectability last week in the picks, and I fully expect to go undefeated this week. Actually, I'd settle for the Jets blowing out the Ravens and the Chargers scoring 100 points in a game. Either way.

SD NE -5.0 SD
BUF NO -1.0 NO
DET TB -6.5 TB
NYG STL -7.0 --
SF ARI -2.0 SF
Season: 21 - 25
Last week: 8 - 6
Earnings to date: - $650

Week 1 picks
Week 2 picks
Week 3 picks