(In my best guy-from-Price-is-Right voice, here we go...)
It's time to play:
WHO ... DO ... YOU ... TRUST?!
Nale: I'm your host, Rusty Nale. And welcome to this edition of "Who do you Trust?" In today's game, we're going to feature the Boston Red Sox bullpen. It's quite sketchy out there, so we're going to have a doozy of a game on our hands today!
Now our two contestants! Our first player comes to us all the way from the streets of Detroit. Around his 'hood' he's known simply as "Rich Boy" because he occassionally wears shoes. Please welcome .... TOOOOOOOOM THE BUM!
Nale: Welcome, Mr. Bum.
Nale: Our second contestant is a house wife from Anytown, USA. She may not be the best dressed, but she sure does know that Boston bullpen! Please welcome ... Shiela Broflovski!
Nale: Welcome, Shiela.
Shiela: Hi Mistah.
Nale: Ok, let's start our game. This is how the game works: I'll say the name of a member of the Boston bullpen, you tell me -- on a scale of 1-10 -- how reliable they are pitching in a close game. Got it?
Nale: Good. The first name I'll say is the closer of the team, Mr. Jonathan Papelbon. Bum, you're up.
Shiela: Ten, mistah!
Nale: You are both correct. Mr. Jonathan Papelbon is a stud in the bullpen. He has yet to blow a save, and I think it's safe to say he is straight from heaven. Moving on ... Keith Foulke. Your turn, Shiela.
Shiela: That's a tough one ... 6.5?
Bum: Ehh ... six!
Nale: Ok, a 6.5 and a six. Understandable. Foulke has pitched pretty poorly as of late and always seem to have some type of injury. If it isn't his knees, it's his back. And not to mention how mentally stable he is: stable isn't a word in his dictionary! Also, people keep saying Foulke is good against lefties, but look at his splits. Lefties are hitting .308 against him in 55 at-bats. Doesn't sound like a sure thing to me! Moving on. Next up is Julian Tavarez. Go!
Bum: Talk about a bum ... ehhh ... let's go with a five. He certainly is a nutcase, Rusty.
Shiela: Oh boy. I'd have to say six, because he's got some nasty movement on his fastball.
Nale: Nasty movement is right, but it doesn't really matter when he can't throw it for a strike, does it? I don't care about movement, I care about strikes, and he doesn't throw them! But when he does, it'll be a hit! For the other team! Over the monster! Moving on to Rudy Seanez.
Shiela: Four, Rusty.
Bum: He's a bum like me! Three!
Nale: Shiela seems to be pretty forgiving, but do you remember when Rudy last walked a guy? You should, because he always does! He either strikes them out or walks them. I'd be a little forgiving if he didn't give up so many hits, but the guy doesn't deserve a late game situation at this point. Let's take aim at ... Manny Delcarmen!
Bum: I like him, but he's still a rook! Six!
Shiela: Six, too.
Nale: Delcarmen has been good, but he really hasn't pitched in a situation where the pressure has been high. He's been able to keep the Sox in the game, however, something guys like Tavarez and Seanez are horrible at doing. Next up is David Riske.
Shiela: Riske can only pitch when the Sox are losing, so he gets a two!
Nale: Whoa. Low ratings for Mr. Riske. It seems to be night-and-day with this guy: when the Sox are losing, he's lights out. When the Sox are winning, he seems to not fair too well. Can we afford to ONLY pitch him when the Sox are losing? I don't think so. Next up is Jermaine Van Buren, even though he's in Pawtucket now.
Bum: Rusty, despite his bad outing against the Yankees, I give him a six. Because, let's face it, everyone was bad against the Yankees!
Shiela: 6.5 because he was pretty clutch at times.
Nale: Clutch is right, but he did get lit up by the Yankees. And Mr. Bum, your point is well-taken. Josh Beckett even was hit hard by the Yankees. But Van Buren does have some good stuff. Do we trust him with a one-run lead in the eighth inning? Maybe not completely, but much more than some of these other guys.
So let's tally the score!
Nale: It's pretty obvious what the moral of the game is: Papelbon is a stud, and the rest of them are du-- BIG QUESTION MARKS! With Mike Timlin out because of an injury, this bullpen has been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It didn't help that Foulke has been injured, either. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel folks! Timlin is due back soon and Craig Hansen -- the high 90s throwin', slider chuckin' prospect -- is finally with the club. Are things looking up? Definitely!
And until next time, this has been ... WHO DO YOU TRUST?!