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Sox Mid-Season Report Cards: Rotation.

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  • Ace No. 1, Josh Beckett.
    What can I say about our man Becks? He's been everything we thought we were getting last year. According to the ever/dubiously-popular FIP (What the F is this?), he's been the best in the AL this season, and third best in the ML behind Jake Peavy and Chris Young. No matter how you slice it, he's put himself in elite company. Let's hope those avulsions that caused us such revulsion are a thing of the past. (Good god that was clever.) A
  • Ace No. 2, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
    There were some (including me), who thought Matsuzaka's first season in the Majors would be one completely of transition. Kind of a "temper your expectations boys, a 4.50 ERA on the season with a few complete butt-kickings would be a great sign". He's gone far beyond that, pairing with Josh Beckett to deliver on the promise of two young aces with the ability to rack up the Ks. He's 6th in the Majors in K/G, and he's been walking a lot less batters recently. If his second-half is more like his last several starts before the Tiger HR-binge, we're probably looking at the strongest of 3 RoY candidates on this team. B
  • Man that Almost No-No Was Nice, Curt Schilling.
    Ah, Curtalicious. It seems so long since we've seen you. His stats this season have neither been particularly encouraging or discouraging. The 1.36 WHIP doesn't look too pretty, but his 4.05 FIP shows that he personally has done a decent job at minimizing the damage. If he comes back this same pitcher, he'll be more than acceptable as the #3 starter (while acknowledging that all these rankings are useless anyway), but we need to (and are) now looking at Daisuke and Josh as the stoppers in the rotation. C
  • Love Ya Pal, But Could You Find a Caddy Who Hits?, Tim Wakefield.
    Ready for this? I, an unabashed Wakefield-supporter in all things, am ready for him to retire. And this isn't (just) because of his aforementioned hitting-challenged caddy. I'm talking about a line-drive rate that has jumped since just last season (16+% - 22+%), and the fact that his ERA SHOULD be about half a run higher than it is. His walk-rate has also been climbing the last few years. I'm not ready to bet against him (as we all know, the knuckleball is tough to predict, even/especially for the wielder), but the tide may be turning. C-
  • This Plan Is So Crazy It Just Might Work, Julian Tavarez.
    We entered the season with possibly equal amounts of excitement and trepidation at the thought of Julian Tavarez, Red Sox 5th starter. I'd say we've been delivered both. He's allowed a lot of hits (and this has never been his strong suit), and has allowed almost 1 1/2 baserunners per IP. In the same token, the sinking action on his fastball probably means that his low LD rate (15.7%) isn't neccessarily a fluke, and he's been entertaining on the mound. We may be calling for his head if he doesn't improve on his recent results, but the term "serviceable 5th starter" would probably just make him feel insulted. C+
  • "This is just a temp gig." "Temp gig?" "Temporary gig.", Kason Gabbard.
    Walk rate. Walk rate. WALK RATE. Kason Gabbard walks entirely too many batters. 18 hits and 17 Ks in 20 1/3 IP. These are excellent numbers from a AAA callup. 13 BBs in the same amount of time does not bode so well. The good news is that his walk numbers in the Minors were definitely better, so hopefully it's jitters and he'll move on from it soon. I, Incomplete
  • Devern Hansack had only one start, so I'm not going to analyze his big-league results. However, should something happen and the Sox need a spot starter, he has gotten back on track in AAA. As of this writing, he has 87 Ks in 90 IP, along with a 1.13 WHIP. However, a few great starts in AAA from new callup Clay Buchholz could push Hansack further down that particular chart.
Up Next: Bullpen Report Cards, Immediately Following this Post! (probably mid-late morningish, CDT) Then I'm going to take a bit of a break for the ASG and finish up Lineup/Bench and an Overall Report Card, probably Wednesday afternoon, or Randy might beat me to it.

[editor's note, by Allen Chace]Grades have been changed (specifically Beckett's which kind of started the dominoes) to reflect the good arguments on the part of RSNexile.