Josh Beckett's replacement in the rotation for Friday is yet to be named. We all probably know who the candidates are, but here are some stat lines for you:
David Pauley: 41 IP, 1.02 WHIP, 33 Ks, 3.51 ERA
Runelvys Hernandez: 23+ IP, 1.07 WHIP, 16 Ks, 2.31 ERA
Kason Gabbard: 39+ IP, 1.12 WHIP, 35 Ks, 2.75 ERA
- As much as I like him, I'm going to rule David Pauley out. He pitched on Tuesday, would thus be pitching on pretty short rest, and probably couldn't give the Sox more than 5, tops. Despite pitching well, this was the reason Kyle Snyder was ultimately not considered. We move on then, to Runelvys and Kason. I think Hernandez proved with the Royals that he is not a big league starter. I realize that our friend Snyder proved this as well, but Kyle could always point to injuries, as they plagued many of his years in Misery/Missouri. And you all probably knew anyway, but all this makes LHP Kason the smart choice. Expect to see him on the mound on Friday night at Fenway.
- Braves who hit LH: Braves leadoff man Kelly Johnson actually has hit better against lefties, and it'd be hard to consider this a function of a small sample size, considering he's seen 58 ABs against LHPs vs. 90 vs. RHPs. The Braves have seen a lot of lefties thusfar. If I had to guess, Craig Wilson would probably start over Scott Thorman. There's also probably a decent chance the Braves choose to start uber-catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia over LHH Brian McCann.
- What do we know about Kason Gabbard? Well. He's left-handed. He's not generally considered a classic lefty in terms of matchups, which is fine because the Braves aren't exactly a LHH-heavy team anyway. Gabbard has actually been better against RHHs thusfar in 2007 (HT to Jeff Sackmann for his excellent MinorLeagueSplits database). After another embarassing bout of research, Kason has been averaging about 15 pitches per inning.
- Plenty of other information from MinorLeagueSplits.com as well. Kason's BABIP this season is a semi-lucky .266 (does not include his last start). Those calling for Runelvys would do well to note that his is an extremely lucky .151 (also not including his last start).
- Devern Hansack is in fact ineligible unless Beckett is placed on the DL. Again, most of you probably knew this, but I wanted to make sure I had in fact read the 10-day rule somewhere.
- All of this sets us up rather oddly for our second series in the Bronx on Monday. Look for Tavarez to get the start on four days' rest, with Snyder being held out of relief on Saturday and Sunday to prepare to "piggy-back" someone with Tavarez. Perhaps a plan of 4-5 from Julian with 2-3 from Snydes, best-case. However, this makes one wonder whether this would end up making 10 days for Hansack. Despite all the research I've already done, I'm too lazy now for this bit. Anyone?
- Assuming Beckett isn't put on the 15-day DL, Javier Lopez will probably once again ride the Pawtucket Express. If the Sox feel good about where Beckett is at and send Kason back down after Friday, Breslow deserves the callup in Lopez's place: 22 Ks in 22 IP, 4 BB, 12 G. Breslow has had a few long stints out of the bullpen, and having another guy who could throw more than one inning could be helpful as the Sox don't have another off-day until next Thursday.
- Not sure what FOX is doing on Saturday (and I'm almost fine with this, as it will save a Tim McCarver assault on my ears), but Smoltz v. Matsuzaka could end up being one of the pitching matchups of the season.
- I'm exhausted. First game tomorrow at 12:35 EDT.