Tito in a catch-22

It was the third game of the season, a day game after a night game, and manager Terry Francona was asked if he had thought about giving Jason Varitek his first start of the season.

Francona’s answer that day was, “We’re trying to get Salty going a little bit here.”

More than three weeks later, Saltalamacchia hasn’t been able to get into a rhythm and now Varitek is starting between two to three of every five games.

Sure, the Red Sox want Jarrod Saltalamacchia to gain some confidence.  But thanks to a 2-10 start, they spend tonight at last in the position to get back to .500.

So Francona finds himself balancing the short term vs. the long term. Right now, Varitek seems to be a better short term answer. Coincidence or not, the club is 6-2 when he catches and 4-9 with Saltalamacchia.

Will Saltalamacchia be able to get his confidence back enough so that he can play more regularly?

The story is still evolving, and one of the more interesting ones to watch. Varitek also hasn’t been able to get anything going offensively, but there’s no doubt that he has done a strong job handling the pitching staff.

4 Comments

I believe, that over time Saltalamacchia will get his groove going, but for now I love having Varitek playing more games, just because he is now a relief type catcher does not change the fact that he is by far more able to help the Red Sox with their new momentum of winning games…Jason Varitek will always be the greatest Red Sox catcher that this team has ever had.
Please keep playing with the winning combination that we have got going right now.

This is a non-issue and the Varitek statistics are VASTLY overblown. I love the captain as much as everybody, but the idea that Salty is the problem behind the staff’s woes is a crock. Over 81 games, particularly with Salty learning under Tek’s tutelage, those numbers are going to be a lot more balanced. Further, Salty will DEFINITELY provide more offense. More importantly, the Sox have ridden the broken horse that is the captain about as far as can be done without a valid replacement in site. We have one, now, but the team is living on borrowed time at this position and needs to make a commitment to a younger player; see Pedroia, Dustin.

I think it would be a good idea to keep Tek in until the Sox are playing 500 or better. We can’t put all the blame on Salty either. We should also consider the pitchers frame of mind when he’s catching. Think about it. These pitchers have been throwing to Tek for years. They’re comfortable with him behind the plate. They too need to step up and put a little more confidence in Salty and maybe they’ll start working better together.

I think that they are using Varitek as a crutch, and only until they do not have him around will they let the Jarrod develop and get the experience he needs. He needs to go through stuff, to make himself better. It is time to let Jarrod play the game and learn.

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