Gut check answered

In response to the earlier post, the Red Sox indeed answered their first gut check of the season, playing with clear urgency and doing everything that needed to be done.

The most encouraging sign of the day? Easily Keith Foulke. 3 K’s in 1 2/3 innings, no baserunners. He was untouchable. If he has a few more outings like this, you know the chatter will start again that Papelbon should be moved to the rotation and Foulke should be restored as the closer.

Personally, I think they should keep things as they are and go out and find a fifth starter, or hope that Wells can make the comeback a lot of people don’t seem to be expecting.

What did everyone think of Ortiz’s bunt single?

Those who might complain about it are probably some of the same who applauded last August in Anaheim when he laid down the exact same single and Manny followed with a two-run homer. I think it was a good move at the time. Even with runners on first and second, the Jays still walked Manny intentionally. I think that more often than not, you’d like Trot Nixon’s chances in that spot, even against a lefty. If it was later in the game, they probably would have pinch hit Pena there.

  Also, the overlooked play of the game was the perfect hit-and-run executed by Gonzalez and Youkilis to set up the run in the eighth. Youkilis shot the ball right into the exact spot the shortstop would have been covering if not for the hit and run. Those are the types of plays that win games.

   Cleveland should be a fun series and another early test for this team. Thank goodness for the retractable roof in Toronto, otherwise we would have had rain delays galore this weekend.

  Ian.

17 Comments

I agree with you. The SOX should not mess with the chemistry in the bullpen until Keith Foulke is more reliable. In fact, this is a great time to try out some of the Pawsox starters. I just knew trading Bronson was a bad thing on several counts.

yep foulke looked great.

a WEEI caller asked the other day whether Paps would be more valuable as a starter or closer. the host said closer, definitely. what do you say, Ian?

“you know the chatter will start again that Papelbon should be moved to the rotation and Foulke should be restored as the closer.”

I must admit that I’ve never stopped the chatter. Due to my massive disdain for David Wells, I’ve been hoping all along that Foulke would do well enough to close again. Though I doubt the Sox will mess with success, I still don’t see them paying Foulke 7 mill just to be the set up man. I bet if Papelbon starts messing up a little (like a run here or there) they will maybe think about changing things.

As for the Papi bunt – if only he had done it when the DRays played that massive shift! He would have had at least a double.

I wouldn’t get too hung up with Foulke’s salary. As my colleague Tony Massarotti reminded me today, Papelbon is being paid about $300,000. So you’re still only paying Papelbon and Foulke a combined $8.3 million for two valuable spots in the bullpen. When you look at it that way, Foulke’s salary isn’t that big a deal. Particularly if he pitches more games like he did today.

I liked the bunt. I know that a huge part of Ortiz’s value to the team is in his ability to hit for power. At the same time, the shift that many teams put on him has hurt him. Bunting now and then for a hit may be just what it takes for other teams to think twice about the massive shift….thereby bettering Ortiz’s chances of a big hit to right.

I like this team. I’ll like it even better when we get Crisp back and figure out what to do about the 5th starter.

Tremendous job by the Sox to pull out the much-needed win today. I agree that the bullpen should remain intact. Solid pitching in the bullpen definitely takes some pressure off of the starters to feel like they have to do it all. While I am not a huge Wells fan, I hope he can return to last year’s form. However, if the Sox were to go out and get a fifth starter, who are some possible players they could go after Ian? Perhaps the return of Roger Clemens in May?

Ortiz was so clever in the play. Even though Lo made one error, we are fairly good in the defense. But I hope our batters will better hit in the scoring position.

Is there talks about trading J.T Snow to Chicago Cups where the first baseman isn’t expected to play for a long time?

I haven’t heard anything about J.T. going to Chicago, but i wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs inquired about Choi, who is rehabbing from his Spring Training injury, but is still on Boston’s 40-man roster.

I would doubt if the Cubs would go after Choi. The scouts all hate him, all of the National League and most of the American League declined to pick him up even though he had an option.

Put me down as one of the believers that Papelbon’s talent is best exploited by having him in the starting rotation whenever that becomes possible. Foulke is starting to look sharp, which is encouraging.

“Personally, I think they should keep things as they are and go out and find a fifth starter, or hope that Wells can make the comeback a lot of people don’t seem to be expecting.”

Like it was said earlier, Roger Clemens anybody? :-D

Seriously though, if Foulke can get back to even 80% of his 2004 form, then I’d expect to see Papelbon in rotation right away. A possible swap in players from the PawSox would be likely (e.g. DiNardo goes back for say, Hansen).

the problem with the bunt comparison is that in this situation everyone knew manny would see nothing to hit. with a lefty on the mound that meant either pena was pinch hitting for nixon or nixon was facing a lefty. atleast with the angels they didn’t have a lefty in the pen.

Mark me down for putting Papelbon in the the rotation NOW. If the Sox had a promising 5th starter, if Lester was ready, if Wells could pitch, I’d keep him closing. But the value of a great closer is wildly over-rated…the great ones are 90% successful and almost anybody is 80% successful. Look at last year: the Sox had essentially NO closer, and only lost 3 more games than in ’04. How crucial could the closer be?

A starter has far more impact. Foulke has been plenty consistent, for heaven’s sakes…if he pitched like this at the start of 2005, nobody would have been saying he should be replaced.

Papelbon would give the Sox a rock solid 5 man rotation. It would allow him to pitch 220 innings instead of 80. Unless the Sox are awfully sure they can sign Roger to be the world’s most intimidating 4th starter, I think Papelbon’s the man.

I’m still not sold on moving Papelbon to the rotation. Not that I don’t think he will flourish in a starting role as well, but I’ve heard Schilling comment on how the best way for a young, budding pitcher to learn to throw is in the bullpen. In 1991, Schilling had 3 Wins, 8 Saves and 71 K’s. The very next season…14 Wins, 10 CG, 4 SHO and 147 K’s. We can’t move Pap from the bullpen to rotation and then back to the bullpen if we end up trading for a starter mid-season. If he makes the switch at all, that is where he needs to stay.

Two quick questions: John Lester for Dontrelle Willis…any truth to this rumor out there? (and if so…will the Commisioner step in and say “This needs to stop” to the Marlins?)

Secondly, what would it take to see Juan Gonzalez in the majors?

I think there’s something to be said for stability. I think they should move Papelbon ONLY if he’ll stay in the rotation. I wouldn’t want to see him moved only for the Sox to go after another starter and end up moving him back to the bullpen. Better stay put until they have the whole game plan in place.

“But the value of a great closer is wildly over-rated…the great ones are 90% successful and almost anybody is 80% successful. Look at last year: the Sox hadalized essentially NO closer, and only lost 3 more games than in ’04. How crucial could the closer be?”
I disagree… just look at the 2003 season, when the Sox were hurt a lot by not having a closer. First, they tried to go without a closer, then realized it didn’t work, and ended up with two closers, Williamson and Kim, both of whom didn’t seem comfortable in the role…the Sox have won lots of one-run games this year, in which it was huge to have a dominant closer who slams the door.

I think the Sox need to do something about the rotation situation fast. DiNardo doesn’t seem to have the stuff to be a major league starter, I’m sorry. I don’t think it’s likely that Wells regains his old shape any time soon (heck, the guy’s, what, 43?). With the way Jon Lester is pitching right now and considering it’s only April (who’ll trade a healthy starter in April?), the only option I see is to move Pap to the rotation as soon as Foulke is ready. Papelbon has proven last year that he can start in the Big Leagues.

My mlb.tv went from Ohio coverage to NESN and back to Ohio. Does anyone know why this happens?

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