A Convincing Win Leads Us To…

Okay, quite convincing win last night. Very pleased overall. This is going to be a pretty quick post as I’m about to be inundated with things to do – so much that Gary of Sox on Deck will be doing one more guest column tomorrow to take the pressure off me. I have the funeral to attend, ya know.
John Olerud! Six RBI in one night, a two-run dinger, a three-run shot, and a cool ground-rule double to wrap things up. I’m not complaining, and I have to think Tito feels a little validated because of the “uproar” over Petagine starting. I hate to plug Geo for the second day in a row, but he really hit the nail on the head with the Olerud over Petagine section when he said: Are you guys really that stunned he’s not starting more this season? Theo and Francona are guys who are going to rely on past numbers to determine lineups. And the fact of the matter is that Petagine’s career ML numbers aren’t that good: .231/.350/.381. The fact he hasn’t played since 1998 in the majors isn’t helpful for Francona when looking at starting pitcher matchups to make decisions. He has full numbers for Millar/Olerud dating back to the start of the ’99 season. Compare that to 26 ’05 at bats for Petagine. Obviously if either of Millar/Olerud have pretty good numbers against a starter he’ll get the nod over Petagine. Is that fair to Roberto? Probably not, but you can’t say you don’t understand why the decision is being made.
Kevin Millar remained (relatively) hot, by hitting a double and a single. He may be on his way back, and if he is, we’re all the better for it.
Arroyo pitched okay. I still hold that we should move him in the offseason because we have Wade Miller and Jon Papelbon waiting in the wings. We could even surprise and sign Kevin Millwood or AJ Burnett, and bottom line, Arroyo is the most attractive trading chip, so trade him for pieces we need. I am pleased with the fact that he walked one and struck out six, though. He just got burned on the Travis Lee homerun.
Jon Papelbon pitched one inning then came out for the ninth and gave up two hits and got yanked. I was quite in favor of this move, as we should see if he can effectively pitch two innings, even if he doesn’t have the gas he had. This really showed the management a better way to judge when Papelbon can return or not. He’s been up for a while, but he’s still relatively new and the coaching staff needs to learn his tendencies and various signals throughout the game.
Tomorrow, we are going to see John Maine, who is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA, oppose Lenny DiNardo. Am I the only one who thinks DiNardo has quietly become one of our best young pitchers and really should factor in next year? You have to consider that we might possibly not bring Mike Myers back, which gives us zero left-handers in the bullpen, and also even if we did, it’d be nice to have two. DiNardo had an excellent year for AAA, with a 3.15 ERA in 22 starts. He can be a longman, a shortman, even a starter for us. It’s nice to see that we have this excellent option in DiNardo. I’m just a little ashamed we didn’t take full advantage of him this year. Talk about giving Millar and Bellhorn playing time – how many times did we impale ourselves with Embree and Halama when we could have had DiNardo?
This was a really good way to start September off, and now we can clip some Oriole wings in three games. We really ought to, and take absolute, full advantage of the series the Yankees have in Oakland. We need to get as much breathing room as possible and just run away with this thing. We should be so much better, so it’s amazing we’re in the position we are, I think. And this team is really only getting better.
Remember this. The best playoff teams are those that were hot in September, not in April.
I really do have to run, but I must say, I’m feeling quite confident in this team. Hopefully I’ll be settled in on Sunday, this week has been hectic, so I have felt I haven’t been doing such a good job writing this week. We’ll see what next week brings. On Sunday perhaps I’ll offer my opinions on why our bullpens are so weak with Epstein at the helm. I had planned to do this in the off-season, but now’s as good a time as ever, right? We’ll see. Either way, go Sox!