The Pen, Period.

OMG. WTF can I say here people?

Atrocious, plus a side of excruciatingly painful to watch.

Signs it's going to get better? None. And the only acquisition I'm really interested in, Damaso Marte, hasn't pitched in the AL in awhile, and could easily be cost-prohibitive. Out of 8 full-type seasons, his WHIP has only been above 1.266 twice, and he has struck out 483 hitters in 453 1/3 career innings. It's all but assured that we need to get better on an internal basis.

Masterson. I'm cautiously optimistic, if only because his sinker should make him reasonably effective in those IH situations that we've to this point only been able to use Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, Mike Timlin, Javy Lopez, David Aardsma absolutely no one in. I'm concerned about his control and HR issues, however, which basically means he'll fit right in in our bullpen.

Delcarmen. All right buddy, I'm losing faith here. I've been one of your biggest defenders, I think, as others have clearly lost all thought of using him in close situations. He's simply been easier to hit this season. Last year he threw 44 innings and walked 17 while striking out 41. This season he's at 40 2/3 with 16 BB and 40 Ks. Hits? 28 last year, 37 this year.

Oki. Same issue, really, and this could've been predicted for both. Control in terms of walk rate and strikeout rate have not changed too much. 

Timlin. Am I serious? His last 5 1/3 of ridiculouslysmallsamplesize: 4 H, 1 BB, 3 Ks. I've given up on trying to figure Timlin out, but his ability to not be afraid to f'n throw strikes means I'm ready for him to try higher-leverage work again, if only because I'm ready for hits rather than walks/gift-wrapped hitters' counts to beat us in close games.

Paps. Pass. Good job buddy, even if you haven't been as crazy-dominant as the past two seasons.

Javy. Just not sure here. He had a good stretch to begin the season, but has come WAY back to Earth. Predictable, yes, and he probably doesn't need to see the kind of work he got earlier anymore. Surprisingly enough, he's looking more like a lefty specialist, with a .741 OPS against LHHs and an .814 OPS against RHHs. That .741 isn't that great, I suppose, but it means maybe we should only throw him against weak LHHs from now on. Doesn't seem that useful.

Chris Smith. 0.97 WHIP in Pawtucket this season. 45 Ks in 48 1/3. He might be a quad-A guy, certainly, but we'll never know until he gets an extended look. Seems like a guy (8 BB this season) who would make the other team beat him rather than beating himself. Refreshing?

Daniel Bard. Well. 82 Ks in 62 innings and a 0.94 WHIP. Next season, certainly, even if he doesn't make it up to help us this season.

Aardsma. Injured, and we'll see how that velocity is when he comes back. Walks too many. Walks too many. Walks too many. 

EDIT:

Conclusions. Manny D and Oki just have to become more deceptive and get into less hitters' counts. Timlin might need to see more late-inning work, if only because he'll throw strikes. Lopez would be good if he got on another run, but as of now should be mop-up and vs. LHH's only. Aardsma shows promise, less IP than MDC with great strikeout rates over his career. Some control (we could say this about a lot of people) and he'll be a rock. Hopefully Masterson can defy his BB and HR issues as a starter during his conversion to the pen. 

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