Two straight bad starts for Buchholz. Squeezed or not, a pitcher's primary weapon should be a well-located fastball. Buch hasn't had one for awhile, and the idea that he should go down to AAA to harness it/find one isn't one I'm against at this point. If Colon really is dialing it up to/near 97, then it's time to see if he can get ML hitters out. If not in this trip through the rotation, then next. The only thing that might be able to keep Buch at the ML-level is bigger struggles from Jon Lester than Buchholz himself has had lately.
Livan Hernandez was his usual self tonight, the typical "keep it close" pitcher. He allowed Being's 498th bomb, a two-run shot, an RBI 1B from Papi just before the HR, and nothing beyond that. Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain were effective in finishing off the Sox over the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings.
The Sox pen, however, was somehow just as effective. Javy came in in relief of Buch, got 5 outs and handed the job over to Craig Hansen, who definitely reinforced the decision to DFA Tavarez rather than demote him. 13 pitches, 8 strikes, 2 GBs and a K. It's one inning, but he looked at least close to ready to take over for the struggling MDC in the 7th/8th inning mix. Timlin came on and got 3 outs and allowed a hit on a total of 7 pitches in the 8th. The Twins were clearly ready to go home for the day.
Player of the Game:
It's the guy on the left, of course. 498. Look at how small he looks standing next to Papi. I have to interject, however, that it was Craig Hansen that gave me a lift about this game, and made me feel all right when it was all over.
The Shortstop Position:
Excellent hands and good range
Is not a hitter. Pretty much at all. Runs well, though doesn't have the speed of a real base-stealing threat.
Good hands, worst range of all three
Is a hitter. But we don't know how much rookie "jitters" could become a factor. Is...not ridiculously slow or anything.
Excellent range, poor no hands
Runs well, .OBP is almost .350.
So who do we go with? Honestly, it's going to be Lugo and Cora until one of the two is injured, at least for this season. Lugo is not going to continue to have the kind of defensive issues all season long that have plagued him thusfar. And even if he does, Cora will just see more PT late in games to preserve leads, which Lugo's steadily rising OBP may help to create. I love Jed Lowrie, and under other circumstances I'd be yelling loudest to bring him back up and let him start. It's just not going to happen, not until one of the others gets hurt, or Lugo starts to be a complete black hole at the plate as well.
Tavarez is gone. How does the 'pen shake out?
Well. This was a bit unexpected, if only because most people were of the belief that Hansen would simply be sent down to create room for Sean Casey, and most people thinking DFA were probably attaching Timlin's name to it. Instead, Tavarez is out. I've seen comments around the web about "who is the Sox's long reliever now?" Am I the only one who thinks it's silly to just plan for your starters to be poor enough that within one turn of the rotation, you'll at least once need somebody to come in and throw several innings in a single game? Plus, Tavarez has only twice thrown more than 1 2/3 anyway. Aardsma already has 3 2 IP appearances under his belt, and would seem to be the logical choice (or J-Lo, depending upon situations/matchups) to get the game a little deeper. All the DFA really does is indirectly cause a change in the pecking order.
- Hansen !?!?!
- MDC !?!?!?
- Mike Timlin