Can late September games against Baltimore be must win? I mean legally?
- Buck Showalter sure has showed the world what a genius he is, huh? Three years ago the Orioles won 68 games, two years ago they won 64, and last year (with a little assist from Buck) they won 66. This year they've won 62 with 11 to go. I mean, if you can't see the genius in that, well, there's just no helping you is all.
- The Red Sox are in free fall. Is that safe and fair to say? Four wins in seventeen games in September seems like free fall to me. The two options seem to be turn the engine back on or hit the ground. About ten games left to get that going.
- The Red Sox are hitting .267/.333/.440 in September, which might surprise some of you as it isn't utterly hideous. It is a bit under the team's season-to-date performance of .279/.348/.458, but not by some crazy amount. What won't surprise you is the team's September ERA, which is 5.98, the second highest in baseball over that time period. It would be higher but the seven unearned runs the Sox have given up aren't counted. It's the pitching, stupid.
- The Red Sox get Erik Bedard back from multiple injuries on Tuesday. He'll join Josh Beckett and Jon Lester as the three reliable starting pitchers the Red Sox have healthy. This assumes of course that Lester and Beckett make it to Tuesday without stepping on a rake. Sadly only two of those three in Beckett and Bedard will pitch in this series versus Baltimore. The Orioles nominal ace, Jeremy Guthrie, will face Kyle Weiland who is finishing up his Gauging Your Eyes Out With A Spoon Tour in the first game of the series. Following that, the Red Sox have the advantage in the starting pitching department in the remaining four games of the series.
- At this time it's unclear who of the Yankees starters beyond Ivan Nova the Rays will face in their up coming four games in New York. Who ever they are, they're probably over-weight, don't make much money and were lucky to get a spring training invite. Oh, and they've probably had awesome seasons.
- These are the final four games the Red Sox have at Fenway Park during this 2011 regular season. Someone somewhere might be happy about that.
Individual game notes after the jump
- There are ten games left in the season. 20% of them will be played today.
- As the Rays are off today, the Red Sox have the opportunity to add a full game to their Wild Card lead.
- Kyle Weiland will have, if possible, an even shorter leash than his last start. So short, in fact, he may not be able to make it to the mound from the dugout without choking himself.
- Guthrie has been the best starter for Baltimore again this year which, I know, is damning with faint praise. Still, I'm not sure what he's still doing in Baltimore. The Orioles likely could have received something useful for him at the deadline but he's still there. I kinda feel sorry for him, though that'll dissipate quickly once he starts throwing goose eggs up on the score board against Boston. Guthrie has 20 Ks in his last 19 innings pitched with a 2.37 ERA over that time. Fear the Reaper.
- Ever see the movie Tough Guys? It's an 80s movie about two old train robbers who get caught, and then 30 years later get out of the joint and try to rob one last train together. This scene, especially the ending (about the 7 minute mark), perfectly encapsulates Brian Matusz's season to date. Basically it features a massive train wreck. Ain't I topical?
- John Lackey is terrible. I could show you a bunch of stats saying he's getting worse or he's getting better, but in either case his baseline is just rotten. I still think there might be something useful left in that right arm, but I doubt we'll see much of it until next season. Blind fold and clothespin recommended.
- Kirk VandenHurk is an action hero, not a pitcher. His 6 run career ERA attests to this fact.
- Erik Bedard's return to the mound couldn't come soon enough. The lefty would have been nice to have while the Sox were crapping the bed against Tampa this past weekend, but beggars can't be choosers. Well, beggars can be choosers, but it won't change anything, which is where we were with Bedard. The oft-hurt pitcher will throw when he can and the Sox will be better off on those few select days. Expecting him to take the ball every fifth day though is just silly. Be happy he's here to help in this series and cross your fingers about any beyond that.
- Josh Beckett threw just well enough to beat the Rays his last time out. That's more than you can say of any of the other Sox pitchers including but not limited to Jon Lester. Beckett was even unlucky (as was Lester) as what would have been a deepish fly ball in any other ball park landed on the top of the monster for a homer in the first inning. He didn't let it get to him though, or at least not that we could see, and had a successful outing (with a little help from the home plate umpire) in the end. I'll take another helping of that, please.